ELY — UNLV holds the first of its two fall camp scrimmages on Saturday afternoon at Broadbent Park here but there won’t be nearly the suspense when it comes to the starting quarterback battle between Nick Sherry and junior college transfer Blake Decker.
That’s because Rebel head coach Bobby Hauck announced Friday that the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Decker would be the starter UNLV’s Aug. 29 opener at Arizona.
“He’s played the best in camp and he’s separated,” Hauck said. “When it’s time to do that, it’s time to do it I think.”
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Decker’s reaction to the news? You’ll have to wait until the team’s first weekly press conference on Monday, Aug. 25, to find out. Hauck has denied media interviews with his quarterbacks until then.
Offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach cited Decker’s maturity – the former BYU walk-on served a two-year LDS Church mission in Mexico and turns 24 on Sept. 28 – along with his mobility and ability to avoid turnovers as the deciding factors.
“Maturity. He’s a mature guy from the get-go,” Rosenbach said. “He’s got the ability to make plays with his feet, move around and do some things that we like to see our quarterbacks do. He’s been operating well for a guy who has only been here since the spring. We feel like he’s earned the chance to be the guy and be the starter.”
Decker passed for 4,241 yards, 47 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last year as a sophomore at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College en route to being named Offensive Player of the Year for both the Arizona Community College Athletic Assn. and Western States Football League. He also rushed for 390 yards and four touchdowns while leading the Fighting Artichokes to 10 straight wins, including a 50-42 win over Dodge City in the Valley of the Sun Bowl.