Vets Get Their Turn
Fifth-year head coach Mike Sanford said his team picked up where it left off in spring practice.
Fifth-year head coach Mike Sanford said his team picked up where it left off in spring practice.

Aug. 6, 2009

LAS VEGAS - High summer winds whipped through Rebel Park Thursday night but did not tamp down the high expectations of the UNLV football team.

Although regulated to helmets and shorts during the NCAA-mandated acclimation period, the squad's returnees got back on the field for the first time since the spring game in April and were invigorated by cool temperatures more suited for late September.

"We had a great night of practice," said head coach Mike Sanford. "The wind became a factor at times but I told the team afterward that we are going to have to play in adverse conditions in the Mountain West so it's good to get used to it early. It's fun to be playing football again and I was excited to see our players come back and pick up where we left off in the spring."

TIGHT END LIST DOWN ONE: The group competing for time at tight end this season just got a bit less crowded with Thursday's announcement that redshirt freshman Alex Young out of Hughson, Calif., will not be returning to the team. Leading candidates for the job are sophomore redshirt Kyle Watkins (Phoenix, AZ/Cactus Shadows HS/Scottsdale CC), sophomore Austin Harrington (Grapevine, TX/Grapevine HS) and redshirt freshman Gordy Cooper (San Jacinto, CA/San Jacinto HS).

"We don't have a lot of depth at that position with the loss of Luke Plante (who was denied another year of competition) and now Alex Young," said Sanford. "But we still have a lot of good quality there and we'll just see how it shakes out."

B.J. AND THE THERE: Junior college first team All-American B.J. Bell (Tustin, Calif./Santa Ana College) made his first appearance at the night practice. The highly touted defensive end, who is the third Bell brother to suit for the Rebels along with Zach and Beau, missed working out with the other newcomers in the morning because of class.



FRIDAY SCHEDULE: The team will split into two squads for the next two days. The Scarlet, which is made up primarily of veterans, will be first out each day at 8:45-10:40 a.m. before the Gray practices from 6:00-7:55. The public is invited to all practices this week at Rebel Park.
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