Marcus Arroyo talks growth at UNLV during MW media day


UNLV football coach Marcus Arroyo has spent a lot of time learning during the past three years. He’s certain he’s a better coach now than when he was first hired to lead the Rebels in 2020.

“There’s a lot you can think you know about a job until you’re in it,” Arroyo said. “I didn’t pretend to know how to be a head coach. I had some preparation. I thought I was prepared.”

Of course, Arroyo couldn’t predict a global pandemic was going to derail his first season with the Rebels, or how the transfer portal was going to alter modern college football. Arroyo has been forced to adapt, and he believes it’s helped him grow as a coach and an organizer.

Arroyo is preparing to enter his third season at the helm for UNLV and spoke Wednesday during the Mountain West media day. The Rebels will begin fall camp July 30, the earliest start to a season in program history.

“I think I’m better at communicating with our guys, communicating with our staff,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo continually stressed the importance of communication. He said connecting with the players and staff is necessary because it allows everyone in the program to have honest, critical discussions with each other.

Those types of relationships take time to build, but Arroyo feels like he and his staff have finally managed to create those bonds in their program, especially after spring football.

“We know them better,” Arroyo said. “The trust is earned and that’s exciting.”

UNLV prepares for scheduling format

On July 14, the Mountain West announced a new scheduling model to replace the outgoing division format. Beginning in 2023, teams will play two designated rivals every season, while rotating through the other members. The two schools with the best conference winning percentage will play for the Mountain West championship.

Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said the decision to switch formats came down to two different factors.

First, the conference hopes this puts them in a better position for the College Football Playoff or gives the conference champion a chance at a high-level bowl game, since the division format didn’t guarantee the two best teams in the conference met in the championship game.

Second, the new model allows schools to rotate through the Mountain West quicker, allowing fans to see different teams more frequently.

“For us, we felt those two reasons were enough to look at the dissolution of divisions,” Thompson said.

Arroyo is also happy with the new scheduling system. He thinks it will appeal to fan and said it’s a proactive and progressive step by the conference.

The Rebels coach is most excited that UNLV will continue to play rivals UNR and Hawaii every season. Arroyo said the pageantry of the rivalries between schools is one of the things which separates college football from the NFL. He enjoys the interaction between fan bases, the trophies and the pride rivals put on the line.

“Those are the things that make college football special,” he said.

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Anyamashita on Twitter.

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