Return To Rebel Park For Gridders
March 10, 2008
LAS VEGAS - The UNLV football team returned to the field on Monday with the first of 15 spring practice sessions.
Enjoying the perfect March weather were 80 players and a coaching staff that included one new face - defensive line coach Andre Patterson.
Head coach Mike Sanford said he was excited to get his fourth spring underway.
"It was great to get out and get to work in this wonderful late-winter Las Vegas weather," Sanford said. "We had a lot of good energy and got a lot done right off the bat. On defense, I really like where we're at with Dennis Therrell in his first time as our coordinator. On offense, the competition at quarterback is going to be fun to watch. We've got a lot more experience plus more people involved."
Asked why he switched his jersey number from 15 to 2 this spring, sophomore quarterback Omar Clayton (Normal, IL/Normal Community HS) answered simply. "That's my number, man. It was my number in high school so I'm glad to get back into it." Clayton inherited the deuce spot from 2007 Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year Beau Bell who is currently preparing for next month's NFL Draft.
HIS POSITION HAS CHANGED
Lorenzo Bursey Jr. has not only switched numbers but also sides of the line of scrimmage. The senior-to-be lined up at receiver a year ago after transferring from Washington State but now is working at cornerback going into his senior campaign. The former Washington State transfer caught 13 balls for 114 yards last fall. Despite the move to defense, look for him to once again challenge for kickoff return work as he led the Rebels with 24 attempts a year ago for a an average of 19.6 yards. One other UNLV player has moved across the line as redshirt freshman Austin Harrington (Grapevine, TX/Grapevine HS) switched from defensive line to help bolster the team's thin tight end corps.
Three Rebels will miss all of spring practice but Sanford said the trio will be ready to go by summer. They are senior offensive linemen Richie Plunkett (Henderson, NV/Las Vegas HS) and Johan Asiata (Kalihl, HI/Yuba College) and junior defensive end Luke Plante (Lake Arrowhead, CA/Chaffey College). Plante took a medical hardship year in 2007 after being injured during preseason camp.
UNLV's next practice will be Wednesday (March 12) on campus. The session, which will have the players in shorts and helmets again, is scheduled to last from approximately 4:00-6:00 p.m. All practices this spring are free and open to the public but visitors must stay in the designated viewing areas on the grass practice field.
Fans are also invited to attend the FREE Scarlet vs. Gray spring game on April 18 at Sam Boyd Stadium from approximately 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
UNLV 2008 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC PLEASE NOTE: ALL DATES AND TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE