Situational Session For Rebels
Aug. 15, 2008
REBEL CAMP 2008 - UNLV went through two practice sessions on Friday, starting the day in Rebel Gear and then ending it with a brisk workout in helmets and shorts.
The evening practice went just 14-periods and a lot of the focus was on specific situations, such as special teams coverage and defending the hail mary.
At the end, the coaching staff opted for a modified game of tag for conditioning instead of traditional running, with players sprinting the length of the field trying to tag teammates. The highlight was the site of the offensive and defensive linemen rumbling down the field, trying to avoid each other and stay upright while running full speed.
"It is a good change from the regular gassers," said an exhausted but thrilled Joe Hawley (Yorba Linda, CA/Esperanza HS). "The coaches have tried to make conditioning a little more fun at times, and tonight it was a lot of fun, but still tiring."
A pair of newcomers also had the stripes of their helmets removed tonight, as safeties Chris Jones (Las Vegas, NV/Shadow Ridge HS) and Terrance Lee (New Britian, CT/Arizona Western) now sport solid silver lids.
THE DOG DAYS OF CAMP
Every football team fights it during fall camp - tired legs, sore arms and fatigue as players get physically and mentally drained due to two-a-day practices.
UNLV head coach Mike Sanford, a veteran of more than 30 years as a football coach, knows first hand that one of the main challenges each fall camp is to push a team without wearing it down too much. So on Friday, the Rebels went through a pair of practices sans full pads to help them recover physically a little bit, especially on the eve of Saturday's scrimmage.
"I saw that we were a little bit tired out there and this was a way to get their legs back," Sanford said. "It is a hard line to walk, because you want to push your players as hard as possible, but you don't want to push them too hard and risk injury."
What made it easier for Sanford to give the Rebels a little breather today was the work his squad has done thus far in camp, especially the past two practices.
Thursday before practice, which was in full pads, Sanford challenged his team to practice flawlessly and they would be reworded with a Friday morning workout in Rebel gear - shoulder pads and helmets. Following a successful Thursday session, Sanford again tested his team, issuing virtually the same challenge this morning, with the reward an evening practice in helmets and shorts. Again, his team answered with a strong practice to open the day on Friday.
"We have been practicing very hard and really well," Sanford said. "It also helps that they were in great shape coming into fall camp after working so hard during the summer."
UNLV will conduct its first scrimmage of fall camp tomorrow, and it will be a key evaluating tool as Sanford and his staff work toward naming starters and settling on backups at a number of positions.
One area that will be looked at a lot will be in the secondary, where there is a lot of uncertainty at cornerback, as well as at the safety position. The defensive and offensive lines, the backup running back spots behind Frank `The Tank' Summers (Oakland, CA/Laney College) and special teams will also be focal points of the scrum.
While the scrimmage will be live, the quarterbacks will not be allowed to be tackled.
The Rebels will their first full scrimmage of the fall on Saturday morning. UNLV will continue to practice off campus until returning to Las Vegas on Aug. 19.