Final Split Session A Success
Aug. 8, 2009
LAS VEGAS - Calm, cool and collected. That pleasant cliche could describe not only the gorgeous weather at Rebel Park on Saturday night but also the UNLV football players and coaches closing out the final split-squad session of 2009 preseason practice.
With the Gray Squad, which is made up primarily of newcomers, turning in an effective 22-period outing from 6-8 p.m., it's now time for the entire Rebel team to finally take the field together.
"First, I have to say the weather out here today and tonight was unbelievably nice," said Head Coach Mike Sanford after leaving the field for the evening. "While we look forward to getting the whole team out here at once starting tomorrow, this (split-squad set-up) has been really good for the young guys because they get a lot of individual instruction. Once the newcomers and veterans are together, the tempo of practices really picks up."
ANOTHER LEG LETS LOOSE: Now taking part in practice is a new horse in the race to succeed Dack Ishii as the team's staring punter this fall. Junior Daniel Ayers (Fremont, CA/Washington HS/Laney College), who hails from the same Oakland-area junior college that produced former RB Frank "The Tank" Summers and current Rebel DL Heivaha Mafi (Oakland, CA/San Lorenzo HS/Laney College), got some attempts off Saturday night and will go toe-to-toe with returning punter Brendon Lamers (Palos Verdes, CA/Palos Verdes HS/El Camino College) and place-kicker Kyle Watson (Rancho Cucamonga, CA/Rancho Cucamonga HS/Texas Southern).
"He's cleared and practicing with us now and will be right in the middle of it as far as competing for the punter job," Sanford said. "After having some concerns leading up to camp about that position, I am feeling good about the three guys we have competing now."
Ayers earned all-conference honors as sophomore after leading the Golden Gate Conference in average in 2008 with 35.9 yards per attempt as part of the Northern California Football Association.
ALL HAIL KING: Making his first appearance at fall camp this year was former Rebel quarterbacking great Sam King, who still holds the school record for passing yards in a season with 3,778 in 1981. Now a successful insurance agent in town, King took a look at the current crop of UNLV signal callers, including chatting with veterans Omar Clayton (Normal, IL/Normal Community HS) and Mike Clausen (Riverside, CA/North HS), who were taking in the evening practice as spectators.
RAMSEY DOING DOUBLE DUTY: Junior offensive lineman Ramsey Feagai (Honolulu, HI/Radford HS) spent Saturday's practice wearing the red jersey of the UNLV defense. Coaches recently approached the offensive guard about checking things out on the other side of the ball and the big man showed some impressive moves working at nose tackle.
Sanford said the move is not necessarily permanent for the two-time letterman.
"We are going to look at him on defense for two weeks and then reevaluate it. We need depth on both sides of the football but specifically on the D line. He's done well so far. He's a big body filling those holes."
SUNDAY SCHEDULE: The team will enjoy the morning off on Sunday before practicing together for the first time from 6-8 p.m. at Rebel Park. The public is invited to attend.