Rebels Return To The Gridiron
April 13, 2009
LAS VEGAS - Following a week off for spring break, the UNLV football team resumed practice at Rebel Park on Monday, going through a spirited session that featured 24 five-minute periods.
Rebel head coach Mike Sanford and his coaching staff actually held a team meeting in the morning, to help the player refocus on school and football following the layoff. There was no lack of effort out on the field on an almost perfect spring day that featured temperatures in the high 70s with cloudy skies, as the Rebels continued preparations for its annual spring game.
There was a little lack of continuity and crispness to the session, however, the last one of the spring in full pads before the Scarlet vs. Gray spring game this Friday at Sam Boyd Stadium.
"We have to do the little things better, such as the quarterback-center exchange and the snap count," Sanford said. "Some of that is to expected following the layoff, but that doesn't mean you have to accept it."
Sanford and the coaching staff will divide the team into a Scarlet squad and a Gray team on Tuesday, and then the Rebels will hold a practice in helmets and shorts Wednesday.
As for the spring game, Sanford said he is looking for continued improvement from both the offense and defense while also is looking forward to getting the chance to see the kicking game at full speed. It will also be another opportunity for players to make a lasting impression and to take a step toward earning either a starting spot or a back-up position for next season.
REMEMBERING COACH SNYDER
Following practice, Sanford was saddened by the news of the death of longtime collegiate coach Bruce Snyder, who was an assistant at UNLV from 2003-04 and died Monday after a 10-month battle with cancer.
Snyder was a head coach for 20 seasons, coaching at Utah State (1976-82), Cal (1987-91) and then Arizona State (1992-2000), and he guided the Sun Devils to a perfect regular season and a berth in 1997 Rose Bowl. Sanford knew Snyder for more than 36 years, beginning when he was an assistant coach at USC when Sanford was a player for the Trojans.
"I have known Bruce for a long time and there are a lot of memories that go with him," Sanford said. "He was a tremendous person and a tremendous coach."
THE BLACK JERSEY
In a recurring theme throughout fall camp, junior defensive tackle Malo Taumua (Honolulu, HI/Aiea HS) earned the Black Jersey following a strong performance during the April 1 scrimmage, the fourth time during spring drills that Taumua collected the dark shirt. On the offensive side of the football, fellow trench worker Evan Marchal (Petaluma, CA/Casa Grande HS) was selected by the coaches who watched the tape and noticed a productive day by the junior offensive lineman.
"Evan goes hard every practice and every play," Sanford said. "He played very solid and had a very good scrimmage."
Also considered were senior wide receiver Rodelin Anthony (Immokalee FL/Immokalee HS) and junior quarterback Omar Clayton (Normal, IL/Normal Community HS), while junior safety Travis Dixon (Chandler, AZ/Hamilton HS) and junior defensive end Isaako Aaitui (Pago Pago, A. Samoa/Faga'itua HS) were in the running on defense.
THE BLACK JERSEY is worn by the previous practice's top performer and the coaching staff votes on the winner.
PREVIOUS BLACK JERSEY WINNERS
March 16: Martin Tevaseu, DL March 18: Malo Taumua, DL, and Rodelin Anthony, WR March 21: Preston Brooks, DL, and Omar Clayton, QB March 23: Nate Carter, LB, and Michael Johnson, WR March 25: Jason Beauchamp, LB and Matt Murphy, OL March 27: Malo Taumua, DL, and Channing Trotter, RB March 30: Malo Taumua, DL, and Les Obie, QB April 1: Ronnie Paulo, LB, and Phillip Payne, WR April 3: Martin Tevaseu, DL, and Joe Hawley, OL April 13: Malo Taumua, DL, and Evan Marchal, OL
CHAT WITH COACH
UNLV football head coach Mike Sanford will hold a live chat with Rebel fans on April 14 at 3:00 p.m. (PT) to discuss all things Rebel football.
The chat leads up to the Spring Game, which will be April 17 and kicks off at 6:00 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium. The scrimmage is free to fans and a BBQ will also be held.
Sanford will answer questions about spring football, the upcoming 2009 season and anything else regarding the Rebels.
Fans can submit questions before or during the live chat, which will be held at www.unlvrebels.com.
UNLV's next practice will be Wednesday April 15 on campus and it 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 17 at Sam Boyd Stadium from approximately 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
UNLV 2009 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC PLEASE NOTE: ALL DATES AND TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE April 15 Wednesday Practice 14 No Pads 4:00-6:00 pm April 17 Friday Practice 15 SPRING GAME 6:00 pm at Sam Boyd (Team BBQ at 7:30 pm at Sam Boyd)