UNLV Back At 'Em|
March 24, 2008
LAS VEGAS - Following taking a week off for Spring Break, the UNLV football team returned to Rebel Park on Monday to dig into the meat of spring practice.
Suited up in full pads, the Rebels enjoyed gorgeous spring weather for what was the fourth of 15 scheduled sessions.
"Good to be back," said head coach Mike Sanford. "The first two days in shorts the tempo was good. The third day, the defense was way ahead, which is normal for the first day in pads. Today, we came back and began reinstalling everything we did in the first week. Right now we have to work on things like eliminating bad snaps out of the gun and having guys jump off-sides. We just can't have that. No excuses."
Visitors to Rebel Park will notice a new color scheme on some players as the quarterbacks are no longer wearing black jerseys. Actually, just one player was wearing black on Monday and that was senior defensive lineman Jacob Hales (Las Vegas, NV/Las Vegas HS). Turns out Hales was the first-ever winner of what is simply known as THE BLACK JERSEY, which will now be worn by the previous practice's top performer. The coaching staff votes on the winner.
"Based on the first three practices, Jacob Hales is a better football player today than last year," Sanford said. "He has shown a tremendous attitude and is working very hard. He was the clear champion."
Sanford said two other players were nominated for their good work during the first week of practice: senior WR Casey Flair (Anchorage, Alaska/East HS) and sophomore DB Quinton Pointer (Cape Coral, FL/Mariner HS).
THE BLACK JERSEY will be awarded through preseason camp in August but Sanford says he doesn't know yet if it will continue during the regular season.
The Rebel quarterbacks wore white on Monday but will eventually show up with green jerseys when they are practicing in a non-contact mode.
Reggie Davis, who was heading into his fourth season coaching the UNLV running backs, has been hired to fill a position at Oregon State. That means the Rebels are one coach down in the middle of spring. That also means that head coach Mike Sanford is now overseeing the running backs, which he last did while serving as offensive coordinator at Utah in 2003-04.
"I'm coaching the running backs until further notice," said the head man after Monday's session. "We don't know the timing of hiring a replacement just yet."
UNLV's next practice will be Wednesday (March 26) on campus. The session, which will have the players in pads, 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.