A Windy Welcome
March 9, 2009
LAS VEGAS - Fighting through intense and chilly winds, the UNLV football team opened its 2009 Spring Practice with a two-hour-plus first session Monday afternoon at Rebel Park.
Wearing only helmets, jerseys and shorts, A total of 83 players were on hand under the watch of a coaching staff that included two new assistants - running backs leader DeAndre Smith and linebackers coach Jed Stugart.
The practice was the first of 15 that culminate with the annual Scarlet & Gray Spring Game on Friday April 17 at 6 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Head coach Mike Sanford said he was excited to get going.
"During the offseasons we got bigger, stronger and faster, which we saw when we timed our 40s last week," he said. "This team is excited from within because they know the things we are capable of this year. But we have to take the next step and that starts today."
Directing his fifth spring ball in Las Vegas, Sanford said afterward that the sustained winds did not temper the enthusiasm.
"This was the worst wind I've ever been involved with during spring drills but our team dealt with the elements well. I told them after practice that we are going to play in places where we may have to deal with elements such as these so it's good to experience them.
"We were moving around real well, getting the new players in place. We obviously went with the wind during passing drills."
GUSTY GUESTS Braving the winds during the team's opening practice was former head coach Harvey Hyde. Currently a radio host in Southern California and Las Vegas, he coached UNLV from 1982-85 and led the Rebels to their first bowl game appearance in 1984 behind QB and punter Randall Cunningham.
Also on hand Monday were two members of the coaching staff from the University of Buffalo. The Bulls won the Mid-American Conference championship last season and played in the program's first-ever bowl game.
UP NEXT The Rebels are of on Tuesday before returning to the field for Practice No. 2 at 4-6 p.m., which will also be a no-contact session.
UNLV is scheduled to practice nearly every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (one Saturday practice) except for taking one week off for spring break on April 6-10. Team morning scrimmages are scheduled to be held at two Friday sessions: March 27 and April 3.
All practices are open to the public but viewing areas are restricted and please note that times are subject to change.
UNLV 2009 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC PLEASE NOTE: ALL DATES AND TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE