Mikey Keene’s availability still uncertain for Bulldogs

While Keene could be forced to sit out the second game in a row due to injury, backup Logan Fife has earned the confidence of the coaching staff.

Fresno State could still be without starting quarterback Mikey Keene when UNLV comes to town on Saturday. 

While Keene participated in practice during the bye week, head coach Jeff Tedford said Monday that Keene’s availability will ultimately not be known until the end of the week as he recovers from an ankle injury he sustained against Wyoming on Oct. 7. 


The big picture: Along with the uncertainty surrounding Keene, linebacker Levelle Bailey has been questionable the last few weeks with a knee injury, although he did play in the 37-32 win over Utah State on Oct. 13. 

  • The bye week came at an opportune time for the Bulldogs, with Tedford saying it will take all two weeks to find out exactly where Keene and Bailey stand. 
  • The timing of the bye week was also useful to give the Bulldogs extra time to prepare for UNLV’s unconventional offense, which is the top scoring offense in the Mountain West with 35.7 points per game. UNLV also places second in the conference averaging 425.6 yards per game. 
  • Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle outlined part of what’s led to UNLV’s offensive prowess – the Rebels use two running backs in unconventional formations, often having them line up on the same side of the quarterback. 

Scouting Report: UNLV is 6-1 on the season with the lone loss coming on the road against Michigan, currently the No. 2 ranked team in the nation. 

    • While the Rebels have scored on 29 of 30 drives that have entered the red zone – leading the Mountain West – one of their lone weak spots has been scoring touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.
    • UNLV leads the conference with 12 field goals scored in the red zone, four more than the Bulldogs who place second. The Rebels have found the end zone 56.67 percent of the time in the red zone, ranking eighth in the conference. 

    What they’re saying: Tedford called UNLV an “excellent football team,” saying the Rebels deserve to be at 6-1. 

    • If backup quarterback Logan Fife has to step in for Keene again on Saturday, Tedford and the Bulldogs are confident given his experience dating to last season. 
    • “He practices every day, gets the reps,” Tedford said. “He’s really well prepared like he’s going to start and play, so his preparation is great, so we have a lot of confidence in him.” 
    • Speaking about UNLV’s offense, Coyle praised the scheme, utilizing play-action, bootlegs and the triple option to success. 
    • “They do align with two backs in the backfield, but oftentimes they are on the same side adjacent to the quarterback. They give you different looks, which causes some of our reads to be different for your players, and we have to go back and try to decipher what they’re doing and try to give our players a good key, a good read in terms of things that they haven’t been used to seeing,” Coyle said. “Fortunately the bye week has come at a great time for us in that way, getting in some little extra time to start preparing for them. But they’re a team that is doing very well on offense, one of the top teams in the country in scoring offense and total offense. And they’re doing it in an unconventional way.”
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