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UNLV Football 2023 Spring Showcase

Steve Marcus

UNLV offensive coordinator Brennan Marion walks along the sidelines during the UNLV Spring Showcase at Allegiant Stadium Saturday, April 8, 2023.

It’s been a wild, stressful week for UNLV football, and nothing has even happened.

The quarterback is still in place, the offensive coordinator is still in place, the head coach is still in place, and all is good for the resurgent Scarlet and Gray — for now.

Because UNLV enjoyed such a terrific turnaround campaign in Barry Odom’s first year as head coach, other programs have come calling about the key pieces. Odom and offensive coordinator Brennan Marion have been rumored for head coach openings, but as of Wednesday both were still on the UNLV payroll. The same goes for quarterback Jayden Maiava, the Mountain West Freshman of the Year, who found himself the subject of transfer rumors early in the week but remains on the active roster.

With less than three weeks until UNLV’s trip to play in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, Odom’s time in the offseason rumor mill seems to be slowing. He was a leading name for the open job at Mississippi State, based on his head-coaching stint at Missouri and his time as defensive coordinator at Arkansas, but the Bulldogs ended up going with former Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby.

Since that job was filled last week, Odom has accepted a commitment from his son, Garyt Odom, a Class of 2025 quarterback at Faith Lutheran, which could signal Odom’s intention to stick around UNLV for a while to coach his boy.

When asked before the Mountain West championship game whether that commitment could signal a long-term future for Odom at UNLV, he spoke broadly about his relationship with university administrators, the program’s upward trajectory and the city of Las Vegas itself as reasons to embrace his current job.

“I would love to leave a legacy here,” Odom said. “We’re just getting started building this thing.”

Odom has four years and $8 million remaining on his contract at UNLV. That deal makes him the highest paid coach in the Mountain West.

While Odom has been in demand, the hotter name has been Marion, the star assistant behind UNLV’s go-go offense.

Marion has interviewed for head-coaching jobs at San Diego State and UTEP, and while both of those schools chose to go in other directions (Sean Lewis and Scotty Walden, respectively), the offseason shuffle could still see some attractive jobs come open in the near future. A power-conference team with deep pockets could turn to Marion as a target at offensive coordinator, hoping his run-heavy, high-scoring system will translate as well (and as quickly) as it did in his first year at UNLV.

Odom said he and his coaches maintain an open dialogue about interview opportunities.

“There’s constant communication,” Odom said. “I feel really fortunate about the staff. We’re open and honest with each other. If there’s something we need to be aware of, I feel like I’m going to know.”

Executing Marion’s scheme, the Scarlet and Gray rank second in the nation in rushing touchdowns (37), 19th in rushing yards (2,334) and 22nd in points (34.3 per game)

Maiava’s development is another feather in Marion’s cap. The redshirt freshman was forced into the starting role in Week 4 due to an injury to Doug Brumfield, and Maiava clicked with the offense instantly and never gave up the job, eventually leading UNLV to its first-ever appearance in the MWC championship game.

On Monday, it was reported by several recruiting sites that Maiava had entered the transfer portal. As the news began to spread, UNLV director of player personnel Brad Odom (Barry’s brother) took to Twitter to refute the rumors.

Brad Odom posted a photo of himself posing with Maiava, literally timestamped that morning as “proof” that the young quarterback was still with the program.

Maiava has completed 62.9% of his passes for 2,794 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has also run for three scores.

Odom, Marion and Maiava are all in high demand. That’s natural. And any of them could leave at any time.

That’s college football, according to Odom.

“Very seldom in the world of college football is everything moving forward like status quo,” Odom said. “There’s always conversations. There could be changes. We’ll navigate those.”

Bringing back all three for another season would be a boon for a UNLV program that is just beginning to launch. It’s a precarious situation, but based on early returns, the Scarlet and Gray might just be positioned to pull it off.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

Article written by #LasVegasSun

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