Friday Night Lite
Aug. 14, 2009
CAMP REBEL - After a series of physical workouts, the UNLV football team eased through a Friday evening practice in preparation for a scrimmage Saturday morning.
Wearing only helmets and shorts (no pads), the Rebels worked out for 21 periods before closing with some Ultimate Frisbee and even some gymnastics.
It's called creative conditioning and Head Coach Mike Sanford said it helps players stay loose and interested while also offering legit exercise.
"In the old days you would get in shape during this time, but now we get in shape during the summer so that we can practice fast in preseason camp. We do a variety of conditioning drills, including fun things like tonight. The players enjoy it but they also still work up a sweat."
As for the gymnastics, the team's final huddle was broken with a short competition of flips by players such as Renan Saint Preux (Immokalee, FL/Immokalee HS), B.J. Bell (Tustin, CA/Tustin HS/Santa Ana College) and even big Joe Hawley (Yorba Linda, CA/Esperanza HS).
Bell -- all 265 pounds of him -- peaked by taking a running start to pull off a full front flip -- much to the delight of his teammates and the media members awaiting interviews.
"I started doing flips when I was in second or third grade," Bell said. "It's all about commitment. If you don't commit to the it, that's when you get hurt. As for the Ultimate Frisbee, I've played that before but never with 100 big guys out there at once."
SCRIMMAGE ON TAP: The team will hold its first scrimmage of the preseason on Saturday morning and Sanford said it will include a lot of situational work.
"It's going to be 70-100 plays from out of different situations all over the field. It's also going to be a bit time for evaluation. We're especially going to evaluate our running backs, our cornerbacks, our safeties and our special teams."
The fifth year head man also said that the Rebel quarterbacks will be fully live for contact at times.
BARRETT ON BOARD: Just as the second practice was wrapping up, the team's newest addition was walking on to the field for the very first time. Freshman linebacker Jordan Barrett (Oak Park, CA/Notre Dame HS) had a whirlwind trip from his home in California to Las Vegas for processing and to the team's off-campus practice site. The highly touted recruit, who was ranked as high as the fourth best signee in all the Mountain West Conference in 2009, took an open spot on the roster and now must go through a series of acclimation practices before seeing any real action.