POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 05, 2010
Moments after the final whistle blew on the 2010 UNLV football season, Bobby Hauck was already focused on doing what he does best.
"We need to get on the road and recruit," said Hauck, who was hired as head coach less than a year ago after leading Montana to an 80-17 record in seven seasons. "We're good at the recruiting game ... at six o'clock Monday morning we'll be out and about catching up on recruiting."
Whether waiting to play in a bowl game or focusing on next season, all Mountain West Conference teams were meeting face-to-face with recruits while the Rebels made a trip to the islands.
UNLV was the only MWC team with a game this week, losing to No. 25 Hawaii 59-21 last night at Aloha Stadium.
Admittedly ready to put a disappointing 2-11 season behind him, Hauck has plenty of work in front of him as he tries to rebuild a program that hasn't been to a bowl game in a decade.
"We're not very pleased with the win total, certainly, but I'm not displeased with where we are going," Hauck said. "We're building this program up from ground zero ... but I've seen signs that we've got a chance some day to be a good football team."
UNLV will have to find a new quarterback now that Omar Clayton has played his final game.
The senior played in more games than any other Rebel at quarterback, including Randall Cunningham, and closed his career finishing 14-for-25 for 182 yards and two touchdowns against the Warriors.
Clayton, who made the team as a fifth-string walk-on as a freshman, closes his career second on the school's all-time list in passing yards, touchdown passes and rushing yards by a quarterback.
"I almost didn't have a career playing football in college," Clayton said. "It's really hard for me to feel sad about playing my last game because every game I was able to start and every time I made a play I took it as a gift because I didn't have any offers."
Clayton started all 11 games his junior year, but had to battle for the starting job under a new coach in the spring. Prior to the season, he lost his starting job to junior Mike Clausen, but he regained it by the end of the first game.
With only pride on the line, Clayton started his final game strong, hooking up with Michael Johnson for a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter to tie the game at 7-7.
He was only sacked once, but was pressured into three interceptions that led to 21 Hawaii points.
"We struggled with our ground game and didn't want to get to a point where we were playing behind the chains," Clayton said. "Our lack of a run game on first and second down really hurt us."
Clayton's individual play didn't translate to as many wins as he would have liked, but his role as a senior on a very inexperienced team was crucial to the team's success moving forward.
"My job was just to be the quarterback, which means being a leader," Clayton said. "My job was to keep these guys motivated, whatever the scoreboard said, and keep these guys working hard to get better."
It was an especially important lesson for the 23 total freshmen who played for the Rebels this season, one of the highest totals in the country.