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New FSM Feature: UNLV Football After the Spring Game

Franchise Sports Media


Here is some insight we have gained about the UNLV Football team led by Barry Odom following the Spring Football game.

What we know now about UNLV Football after the Spring Game

UNLV Football Barry Odom and the Rebels
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

On Saturday, April 8th, new UNLV Football head coach Barry Odom had his first Rebels Spring Football Game since taking over for Marcus Arroyo in November. The game was open to the public at Allegiant Stadium, and the school held an autograph signing and meet-and-greet after the game ended. For the first time, UNLV fans caught a glimpse of new UNLV offensive coordinator Brennan Marion and his “Go-Go” offense. They also got a first look at new UNLV defensive coordinator Mike Scherer and his new-look Rebels defense.

It was not only an opportunity for fans to see what the Rebels could potentially look like, but it was also a chance for UNLV to show off Allegiant Stadium and the Fertitta Football Complex in person to Rebels recruits — 218 recruits to be exact. The potential future of UNLV and their families got to see the stadium, locker room, and coaching staff up close and personal.

There is not another stadium in college football that can rival this, and it’s not even close.Coach Odom told reporters after the game.

Also in attendance were nearly 100 former UNLV players, including the school’s All-Time leading rusher Chuck Williams, Casey Flair, Jason Thomas, Keith Kohorst, Dr. Archie Perry, Adam Plant Jr., and AJ Ajiake. It was a nice touch to welcome former Rebel greats back to be a part of the present and future of UNLV Football.

UNLV Football welcomed recruits to the spring game. 

What we saw with the Defense.

UNLV Football looks to create turnovers on defense under Mike Scherer.

UNLV Football Jett Elad
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels‘ defense looked like they were playing fast all game. The secondary, in particular, was making plays all over the place, and even though it’s early, that group looks like the strength of the defense. Jonathan Baldwin, Davone Walden, Jett Elad, Jordyn Morgan, and Cameren Jenkins all had interceptions, with Jett coming away with two of them.

Defensively, I thought we played smart. We’ll evaluate the film, but it seemed to me we played really fast,” Odom said. “On the back end, secondary-wise, they made some plays, competitive balls. It was good to see.

What no one is talking about is the communication I saw from the backend of the defense. UNLV safeties coach Damon Magazu has done a really good job with his position group, which is looking to show even more improvement than last season.


UNLV Football LaCarea Pleasant-Johnson
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

A player that Rebels fans should get to know well in that backend is Jaxen Turner, the Arizona transfer. Turner, who plays with excellent technique, can do it all. He should free up Baldwin to make even more plays while being a force in the running game. Turner is also a master communicator and will be a leader in the locker room.

The depth in the secondary, along with the aggressive play calling from Coach Scherer, should help the front get to the quarterback. If the spring game was any indication, Scherer will try to punish opposing offensives with Darius Johnson, Elijah Shelton, and linebacker Jackson Woodard, the Arkansas transfer.

UNLV also expects incoming freshman Lucas Conti, the defensive lineman from Corona Centennial, to be a player who will make an impact this season as well.

Overall the entire Rebels’ defense played well. They were fast, active, aggressive, and played with purpose. Those are building blocks and really good signs for a defense learning a new system.

The defense for this year’s UNLV Football team should be better, with playmakers, and more physical. 

The Rebels unveiled their new look Go-Go offense.

UNLV will have a new offense under new OC Brennan Marion

UNLV Football Ricky White
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

When head coach Barry Odom added Brennan Marion to his coaching staff, it was an exciting offseason move.

Coach Marion is one of the brightest offensive minds in college football and a future head coach. Marion choreographs the “Go-Go” offense, an offense predicated on getting the playmakers in space. A prime example of that is the West Virginia Mountaineers offense with Pat White and Steve Slaton in 2004-2008.

Doug Brumfield is the returning starting QB and fits coach Marion’s offense. Brumfield’s strong arm and ability to get out of the pocket and run make it hard for defenses to stop one facet of his game. The junior signal caller is excited about the potential of the offense.

Brumfield told me, “I’m really looking forward to catching defenses off guard with our dynamic offensive scheme and explosive players like Jacob De Jesus, Ricky White, Senika McKee, Jeff Weimar, and the rest of the skill guys.

White had 99 yards on five receptions during the spring game and looks to be WR1 for UNLV. McKie was once again showing that he has the best hands on the team, and De Jesus, who caught ten balls for 136 yards (and also got engaged after the game), showed the elusive and shiftiness from the slot that should give teams fits.


UNLV Football Doug Brumfield
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

But UNLV has to replace Adian Robbins, the 1,000-yard rusher who transferred to BYU. Currently, the Rebels look to have a running back by committee.

That will most likely change once fall camp arrives and when the University of Pittsburgh running back Vincent Davis arrives. Davis, along with former Alabama A&M running back Gary Quarles Jr. (who missed the spring game as a precautionary measure), will press for significant playing time, along with returner Courtney Reese.

Andrew Wimmer was the Rebels leading rusher in the spring game with 50 yards on 14 carries. Spencer Briggs had an impressive 44 yards on eight carries, and another player who should see a lot of playing time as a potential starter, Jordan Younge-Humphrey, rushed eight times for 33 yards and a touchdown.

I think No. 1, we’ve got to protect the ball,Odom said. “We can win with our quarterback room. I don’t doubt that at all.

The Rebels will be looking to offensive line coach Vance Vice to make sure the line is fortified. While the line is far from settled, UNLV has some pieces in place. Another Arkansas transfer, Jalen St. John, looks to be the starter at left guard, while former Buffalo center Jack Hasz is locked in at center. Returners Amani Trigg-Wright and Tiger Shanks started on the right side for the spring game, with Marcus Miller at left tackle.

The Rebels running backs had a combined 170 yards on the ground to the tune of 4.1 yards per carry, which pleased coach Odom.

I felt like our offensive line, the guys we had going with the 1’s today, there was a push there. We were able to run the ball,” he said.

They’re the guys who’ve been the most consistent, been able to block their one-on-ones and done what Coach Vice has asked them to do,Marion said after the game. “Coach Vice is a quality offensive line coach, and those guys have gotten better throughout the spring.”

UNLV’s offense looks to be much better in 2023.

Final thoughts now that spring football is over…

Final thoughts and observations about UNLV Football after the spring football game. 

UNLV Football Zyell Griffin
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

As a former coach, I subscribe to the ideology that you build your team from the inside out. UNLV is doing that, and I suspect will keep doing that through recruiting and in the portal. You can never have enough offense and defensive linemen.

If you look at the successful teams in the SEC, ACC, BIG10, Pac-12, and Big 12, the teams that are competing for conference titles (or more) all are deep up front. Since Coach Odom and his staff all come from those Power-5 conferences, they are looking to do the same.

UNLV is also scoring big points with recruits. Players now see the ability to come in and compete early for playing time as a reason to “Be a Rebel.” Why go to a school where you have to sit (possibly two years) and burn a redshirt and start your clock when you could attend UNLV and get on the field early?

If you are a player and want to play in a fun, fast, explosive offense that has proven to put points on the board for a young OC, look no further. Coach Marion also coached Jordan Addison to a Biletnikoff Award (as the nation’s top receiver) and helped transform Texas’ offense last season. Players love him and love to play for him.

The same thing can be said for Coach Scherer and how he coaches defense. They love his attitude, intensity, and the way he communicates. Players who play defense love to play in a scheme that allows them to fly around and make plays, and that is exactly how Coach Scherer is coaching them up.

As it always does, it starts at the top, and head coach Barry Odom has gotten the Rebels to buy into his beliefs and his core values. His family mentality makes it easy for players to feel comfortable and loved, all the while being coached hard and having the best brought out in them.

Coach Odom liked what he saw out of his team on Saturday.

I liked a lot of what I saw,Odom said after the Scarlet won the first half over the Gray 20-0, then played to a 10-10 tie in the second half. “What I liked was how we competed the entire spring. We played hard and physical, but we played smart.

This is a group that wants to be coached,” Odom said.

Lastly, the Rebels‘ special teams will be much better than past years. Coach Odom put an emphasis on it and hired James Shibest, one of the best special teams coaches in the country. The group has already shown marked improvement under Coach Shibest.

UNLV Football should make a huge jump in 2023. 

UNLV Football is looking to turn the corner and turn around a program that hasn’t had much success. While there is room for improvement, if the spring game is any indication, Coach Odom and his coaches have done a really nice job laying the foundation for a successful program.


-Joe Arrigo   Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on Twitter and Instagram: @JoeArrigoFSM

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