September 9, 2022 - 6:58 pm
UNLV football players weren’t going to admit the importance of Saturday’s game against California in Berkeley.
“For the media and all the people outside of the program, it’s a big deal,” senior linebacker Kyle Beaudry said. “For us, we’re always focused on going 1-0 every day.”
But coach Marcus Arroyo wasn’t afraid to emphasize how crucial the Rebels’ matchup against a Pac-12 opponent will be.
“We’ve been getting ready for a big road test, which is to go to Cal and play a good football team,” he said. “That’s exciting because it’s going to be a good test for us.”
Arroyo said the step up in competition will be a good indicator of where his team is from a talent standpoint. He will find out if the efforts on the recruiting trail and going into the transfer portal to boost the team’s depth has paid off.
“That’s why you try to recruit the best players possible,” Arroyo said. “We’re trying to put guys out here on the service team that you see in a game week and that give you the best opportunity to play premier opponents.”
Arroyo said the times in practice when the starters on offense and defense go against each other have benefited the defense, specifically noting the secondary when they face starting receivers such as Ricky White.
Beaudry echoed Arroyo’s sentiments on the defense’s improvements. Against Idaho State in the season opener, Beaudry said he liked the physicality level and knows that will be important against a Power Five opponent.
“It was definitely a good start for us with the new coaching staff and scheme we are running,” Beaudry said. “But we definitely want to keep building, and it was good to have that bye week to get a little more practice in.”
The Rebels used the extra time to go over the film of their 52-21 victory over Idaho State and learn how to clean up mistakes.
“There are areas that we see, that we know we want to correct and go over so we can get better at it,” sophomore quarterback Doug Brumfield said.
If the Rebels, who are 12-point underdogs, can pull off the upset, they will be 2-0 for the first time since 1999.
“A road-tested team is what we want to build toward,” said Arroyo, who spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons as Cal’s passing game coordinator. “So for our first road test, we have to learn what it’s going to be like to play a good team on the road and do a lot of things really well to finish the game.”
Who: UNLV (1-0) at California (1-0)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, Calif.
TV: Pac-12 Bay Area
Radio: KWWN (100.9 FM, 1100 AM)
Line: Cal -12½; total 49