Rebels Return To Action
April 7, 2008
LAS VEGAS - UNLV football ran through 20 five-minute periods on a sunny afternoon at Rebel Park following the weekend off, and the Rebels are hitting the home stretch as the team starts it fourth week of spring drills.
And with three weeks in the book and less than two remaining, a pair of Rebel quarterbacks are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
"Omar and Travis are playing very well and are starting to separate themselves," UNLV head coach Mike Sanford said. "Both are making plays and it is very good competition between the two of them right now."
Near the end of today's session the Rebels went through a short situational scrimmage, and both quarterbacks made plays with both their feet and their arms. Dixon eluded the pass rush and made a couple nifty runs, while on one play Clayton scrambled to his left and before going out of bounds fired a 20-yard completion to Jerriman Robinson (Rialto, CA/Rialto HS).
The defense also had its shining moments, with linebacker Ronnie Paulo (Las Vegas, NV/Western HS) providing the hit of the day, leveling D'Angelo Jones (Henderson, NV/Foothill HS) as he came out of the backfield.
One of the areas that Sanford has been the most impressed after three weeks of spring drills is the defensive line, which has dominated play at times during scrimmages and throughout practice. The play of Jacob Hales (Las Vegas, NV/Las Vegas HS), Thor Pili (Orem, UT/Timpanogos HS) and Malo Taumua (Honolulu, HI/Aiea HS). Hales and and Taumua have been very disruptive along the interior of the line, while Pili has moved from the strong side defensive end over to the `Buck' defensive end and has made a big impact.
"I am very pleased thus far with the play of the defensive line," Sanford said. "They are playing really fast and hard each day in practice."
SCRIMMAGE SYNOPSIS After watching the tape of the scrimmage Monday morning and grading the performance of his charges, Sanford said the main thing that needs to improve is the consistency of the team on every play.
He said there were many times on offense when eight, nine or even 10 players were doing everything right, but one guy doing it wrong would disrupt the offense. The same was true on defense, especially when big pass plays were given up.
"We have to get everyone playing well on every snap and playing together," Sanford said. "Everyone needs to be on the same page all the time and it is something we need to take care of now and not when the season starts."
THE BLACK JERSEY Although the coveted BLACK JERSEY is available to anyone on the Rebel roster, staking a claim that it is his own is defensive lineman Hales as he was wearing the jersey on Monday. It is the third time that Hales has earned the jersey, and this time it was for his strong performance during the Rebels' first official scrimmage of the spring.
THE BLACK JERSEY is worn by the previous practice's top performer and the coaching staff votes on the winner.
UNLV's next practice will be Wednesday (April 9) at Rebel Park and 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.
April 9 Wednesday Practice 11 Pads 4:00-6:00 pm April 11 Friday Practice 12 Scrimmage 6:00-8:00 pm (UNLV Football Lettermen Event 5:00) April 14 Monday Practice 13 Pads 4:00-6:00 pm April 16 Wednesday Practice 14 Pads 4:00-6:00 pm April 18 Friday Practice 15 SPRING GAME 6:00 pm at Sam Boyd (Team BBQ at 7:30 pm at Sam Boyd)