VIDEO/STORY: #CampRebel: Kicking Consistency|
Aug. 8, 2017
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - After an off day that included team photos at Sam Boyd Stadium and a night of bowling at Red Rock Lanes, the Rebels returned to the field Tuesday morning to kick off the second week of #CampRebel. While morning clouds kept week one relatively cool, the sun returned in full force for the two-and-a-half hour period in shorts and shoulder pads.
Special teams were an emphasis, with the Rebels spending multiple segments focused on the kicking and return units. One position head coach Tony Sanchez and special teams coordinator Andy LaRussa won't have to worry about heading into the 2017 season is kicker - they have their guy. In just one year at UNLV, junior Evan Pantels has cemented his name in the record books. After transferring in from junior college, Pantels won the starting job as both the punter and the place-kicker and went on to make 55-of-56 combined kick attempts while his 92.9 (13-of-14) field goal percentage broke the school record of 88.2 set in 1987 by former Rebel Jim Cook. Pantels also posted the sixth perfect extra-point campaign in UNLV history en route to leading the team in scoring with 81 points.
Larussa has been impressed with Pantels since he first recruited him and has seen him put in the work necessary to be successful.
"I wish I could take credit, but I can't," said LaRussa. "He had a lot of tools and we saw that coming in, that's why we recruited him. He's got a great approach and his demeanor really helps him be successful. He has thick skin and doesn't let the negative carry over so he's able to step up. He's also got some toughness. He trains like one of the guys, not like he's just a kicker or specialist, and that goes a long ways. So, I think that approach really helps him and we are pleased to have him."
Pantels begs to differ - he contends LaRussa has really made a difference since he arrived at UNLV.
"He's a great coach," said Pantels. "One thing I personally love about him is he let's us do our thing. That's part of the job of being a kicker, sometimes you've got to figure it out on your own. He gives you the space, but at the same time he's always there to give you guidance. He lets you do what you feel comfortable with and that makes him a great coach."
The Suwanee, Georgia, native was also quick to give credit for his consistency and success to his long snapper Joe Lang and holder Kurt Palandech.
"I think it mainly starts with Joe and Kurt," said Pantels. "They are doing a phenomenal job. They give me a great opportunity every time to make the kick. I've got the same team this year so it shouldn't be any different. I think it's going to be a great year."
See the full interview with Pantels here:
SINGLE-GAME TICKETS GO ON SALE
Single-game tickets for the 2017 UNLV football season are on sale now through a special online-only offer and will also be available by telephone and in-person at the Thomas & Mack Box Office starting Monday.
Fans can visit www.UNLVTickets.com
UNLV will be back at it on Wednesday morning with its second full pads practice of #CampRebel.