Should Tony Sanchez Make A Move At Quarterback?
The Rebels are in a free fall.
This move will determine Sanchez’s job.
UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez’s seat is beyond fire after the 43-17 loss to Arkansas State over the weekend. The Rebels were a very slight home favorite at 1.5 points but this team was never in the game.
The big glaring issue is what to do at quarterback for the Rebels. Starter Armani Rogers ended the day so poorly he was benched after completing 8 of 23 passes for 42 yards and rushing for just four yards.
He was pulled for freshman Kenyon Oblad who went 3 of 3 for 70 yards and a score.
“We gotta get going in the passing game, at the quarterback spot,” Sanchez said in the post game press confernce. “If there’s gotta be a little bit of a battle there. I think we’re going to talk about that.”
Maybe there will be a quarterback competition this week. It will have to be quick as the Rebels travel to take on Northwestern on Saturday.
One thing that used to be clear is that when Rogers was healthy the Rebels were a much better team. Just look at last year when Max Gilliam came in for relief due to an injury to Rogers.
The numbers do not lie. However, when Rogers is asked to throw 19 times in the first half and then 23 overall, that is not a recipe for success. UNLV is 3-6 in Rogers career when he throws for 20 or more passes. The Rebels are better when the ground and passing game works in unison, but an emphasis on the former.
“We got find some rhythm in the passing game. We can’t just rely on handing the ball off over and over and over,” Sanchez said. “The thing that really frustrates me is the accuracy. There were some dropped balls early, you gotta help him out a little bit. But too many ball below the guy’s knees, in the dirt. It seems like we are always going down for them.”
Accuracy is a big deal, Rogers has a career completion percentage of just 49.1 which is bad.
What is the point of Sanchez sticking with a quarterback who is iffy in the passing game and is basically useless if his designed runs or legs can not product offense?
The team can not just run so much that they are one-dimensional but this Rebels team is not equipped to pass the ball more than 20 times with Rogers.
This result occurred against a decent Arkansas State team but what will happen when UNLV faces betters teams in the Mountain West?
If passing more is the way this UNLV team wants to go then perhaps it is time to move on from Rogers. The Arkansas State game will be seen as one to look back at if Sanchez keeps his job. The result was not only a bad one but a decision will be made at quarterback one way or another.
There is a lot of pressure on Sanchez due to the lack of wins and new athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois who basically said it is bowl game or bust for Sanchez.
“We are looking forward to a successful 2019 football season,” Reed-Francois’s statement said back in November, “including bowl eligibility.”
This decision under center could is a literal job-saving choice.
Change quarterback to give the team a boost or stick with third-year starter and hope that the Red wolves result was just a fluke and a one-off.
“Armani is a great kid and a great competitor,” Sanchez said. “We have all seen all the great things he has done. He’s a hell of a football player. This is not all on him. He was getting knocked over left and right tonight.”
Sanchez is right and it should be noted that the margin of victory was not all on Rogers, take a look at the secondary which was gave up 284 yards and two scores with Omar Bayless leading the way with 149 of those yards.
Up next for UNLV is taking on a Northwestern team that is coming off a bye and is 0-1 after losing 17-7 to Stanford in its season-opener.