Team Served Up Seconds
Aug. 12, 2009
CAMP REBEL - Enjoying a gorgeous evening setting at its off-campus training site, the UNLV football team closed its first two-a-days practices of this preseason with a spirited 21-period effort on Wednesday night.
The morning practice was highlighted by an intense controlled scrimmage that saw various teams face each other in a second-and-goal from the four-yard line situation. The Rebel offense used the opportunity to make up for a previously subpar start.
"During the rest of practice, the defense played really well and the offense was below our standards," said head coach Mike Sanford. "They were turning the ball over and getting false starts. However, in the scrimmage situation, the offense executed quite well."
The night practice proved to be more to the head man's liking as far as consistency.
"We got a lot done tonight. After being really physical in the morninng, we had a fast-paced practice with a lot of enthusiasm. It was hotter than normal in the day and then the temperatures for the night practice were simply awesome, which led to the team getting a jolt of energy."
UPERESA UP TO CAMP: Fifth-year offensive line coach Keith Uperesa, who has been battling thyroid cancer over the past few months, made his first appearance at the off-campus site during the middle of the night practice. Uperesa stayed behind yesterday to have some blood tests done in Las Vegas and made the trip up today to take his place on the field. His appearance earned a big round of applause from the Rebel players.
Uperesa told reporters afterward that he is happy to back with the team but is eagerly awaiting his next round of treatment.
"I'm supposed to hear from my doctors early next week and then the next step will begin," he said. "The sooner we can get it started, the sooner I can be back out here for good."
Said Sanford: "Seeing Keith walk in gave us a jolt of enthusiasm for sure."
BARRETT TO JOIN IN: Jordan Barrett (Oak Park, CA/Notre Dame HS) is scheduled to join the active roster as soon as Friday, Sanford announced. Ranked as one of the top recruits in the entire Mountain West Conference, Barrett was listed as the nation's No. 12 SLB by Scout and No. 16 ILB by Scouts, Inc., when he signed to play with UNLV in February. Originally scheduled to grayshirt because of his late commitment to the Rebels, the 6-3, 225-pound all-district performer at one of the Golden State's top prep programs is now able to come aboard because of a spot opening on Wednesday. That spot was to be taken by star wide receiver Marcus Sullivan (North Las Vegas/Cheyenne HS), who will now instead grayshirt and look to hit campus in January.
STRIPES: Losing the rookie red stripe from his helmet Wednesday night was freshman receiver Mark Barefield (Wills Point, TX/Wills Point HS), whose immediate success has been a pleasant surprise in camp. Senior wideout Ryan Wolfe (Santa Clarita, CA/Hart HS) took part in the short ceremony during the team's final group huddle of the day.
"I'm excited," said Barefield. "I feel closer to the team now."
THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE: Only one practice for the team tomorrow and it is scheduled to run from 9:40-11:45 a.m.