For the only time this season, UNLV is facing a short week of preparation.
The Rebels got back on the right track last week, rolling past New Mexico 56-14 to rebound from their last-second loss to Fresno State on Oct. 28.
Now the Rebels face a different sort of challenge. They have one fewer day to practice this week, as they host Wyoming at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Allegiant Stadium.
“We understand how important this week is, the preparation it’s going to take,” coach Barry Odom said Monday at his weekly news conference.
The Rebels (7-2, 4-1 Mountain West) are still firmly in the hunt for a berth in the conference championship game, tied with Fresno State for second. They have won seven of their first nine games for the first time since 1984, when Randall Cunningham was the starting quarterback.
UNLV has made adjustments for its short week. The practice schedule has moved up a day from its normal pattern, and the Rebels will begin practicing in the evening instead of the morning.
Odom said shifting practice time helps in a variety of ways. First, it gives the coaching staff more time to game-plan, especially after returning late from New Mexico on Saturday.
Evening practices also give the players more time to rest before jumping immediately into intense midweek-style sessions and will help them be prepared for Friday’s late kickoff.
“The consistency of the program is there within our practice structure,” Odom said. “But our week looks a little different. In our world, today is Tuesday.”
Junior linebacker Jackson Woodard said players understand they have to find extra hours because they will lose a day of practice. He added that the Rebels will try to keep the same mindset they’ve had all season approaching practices, but understand they also have to do more.
Added junior tight end Kaleo Ballungay: “Football’s football. That’s what we do. Coming into this week, we just have a different practice schedule, but we’ll get it done.”
The Rebels do get some other comforts. Friday’s game will be UNLV’s first time playing at Allegiant Stadium since their 25-23 win over Colorado State on Oct. 21.
UNLV is 4-0 at home. It’s the first time they’ve gone 4-0 at home since 2000, when John Robinson’s team went 6-0 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
That 2000 team was the most recent to win eight games in a season. If Odom’s team achieves the feat, it will become the fourth team in UNLV history to pass the seven-win threshold.
Wyoming (6-3, 3-2) hasn’t won a game on the road. The Cowboys’ losses to seventh-ranked Texas, Air Force and Boise State were away from Laramie.
“It’s our house; we take pride in that,” Woodard said. “Every game, we obviously take pride in and want to win, but especially at home. Our fans are there to support us, create that home-field advantage. So we’re going to do everything to protect our place and win that ballgame.”
Who: UNLV vs. Wyoming
When: 7:45 p.m. Friday
Where: Allegiant Stadium
Radio: KWWN (1100 AM, 100.9 FM)
Line: UNLV -5; total 51½
Original News Source Link – LVRJ
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