LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — While Monday's announcement by the Mountain West conference to postpone fall sports wasn't a surprise to everyone, it was certainly a blow.
When it comes to UNLV football, this year was set to be big - with new coaches, a new practice facility, and the chance to play at the brand new Allegiant Stadium.
"While we may have a time of challenge right now, we're going to have that same momentum when we all get back together in the spring," said UNLV Athletics Director Desiree Reed-Francois.
She said while COVID-19 may have put a hold on fall football, it won't block the momentum the school has in building up the program.
"When it's safe enough to play, we still have an incredible new $2 billion Allegiant Stadium, we still have the best training facility in the entire conference and I would say in the entire west coast," she said.
Mountain West Conference postpones football and all fall sports
Not to mention, a new coaching staff led by former Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo, who said he is and will remain fired up.
"Whenever they allow me to kick those doors open, we'll be ready," Arroyo said.
Wide receiver Drew Tejchman said Monday's announcement hurt and he felt confident in the school's ability to protect his health during the season. But he said the team will use the extra months to get better.
"We're just going to continue with the momentum and when we can roll out the balls and play, we'll play," said Tejchman.
UNLV officials said the pause will not impact any athlete's scholarships and because training facilities remain open for now, the majority of athletes will likely stay on campus.
While the uncertainty of the world has created new challenges in building a program, Coach Arroyo said recruiting season is open and they are hunting for talent.
Big Ten, Pac-12 postpone 2020 football season
"We're on the move," Arroyo said. "There hasn't been anything that has slowed us down regarding building a relationship or finding ways to do roster management or keeping an eye on how things are doing. That doesn't mean we're sitting back here in the blind, not paying attention to what we can see or forecast."
Currently, the UNLV practice facilities are open and the football team practiced Tuesday morning.
Officials say they hope they can have a training camp this fall to get ready for a spring season.