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Camp Notes: Dissecting The Secondary

Jay Staggs returns to the Rebel sideline this season.

Jay Staggs returns to the Rebel sideline this season.

Aug. 17, 2012

ELY, Nev. (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV wrapped up its third of four two-a-day practices on Friday. While the morning was sunny, cloud cover came in during the full-padded afternoon session. Toward the end of practice, a light drizzle began. After the practice, the Rebels enjoyed an Italian themed dinner, full of spaghetti, lasagna, meatballs and chicken.

Next up for Bobby Hauck's crew will be the first of two scrimmages in Ely on Saturday. The scrimmage will be at Broadbent Park at 3 p.m. and is open to the public.

A SHUT DOWN SECONDARY 

One of the biggest unknowns coming into the season for the Rebels are the defensive backs.

Despite having to replace three starters, the expectations are high for the young group.

"I expect them to be able to shut a lot of people down," defensive coordinator J.D. Williams said. "Sidney Hodge brings a lot of leadership to the position now. He had the opportunity to start 11 games last year. He has taken the role of being a leader and he is working hard. He is also bringing Kenny Penny and Fred Wilson along with him, and those two guys are starting to work hard. It is good to see a lot of competition between those three guys right now."

Hodge, a junior and Palo Verde High School alum, is the only returning starter to the Rebels' secondary. He was chosen by the coaching staff to wear No. 36, the "Battle Born" jersey, which is given to a player from Nevada that exemplifies the Battle Born spirit of his state and the toughness and pride of Rebel Football.

At safety there is also competition. Sophomore Tajh Hasson and freshman Kenny Keys will vie for playing time as well as and freshman Peni Vea and senior transfer Dre Crawford.

"We have options and the good thing about depth is that it breeds competition," Williams said. "That's how you get better."

RETURN OF A REBEL

Jay Staggs is a familiar sight to Rebel fans - he'll just look a little different being on the sidelines without a helmet this season.

The newest member of the UNLV coaching staff as a first-year graduate assistant coach, Staggs was a standout safety for the program, earning honorable mention All-Mountain West as a senior in 2006. After graduation, the product of Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, Calif., went on to sign with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent and also spent time in the CFL while working parts of four years as a performance specialist at the Philippi Sports Institute in Las Vegas.

Now, he's simply a young coach finding his way - and loving every minute of it.

"I met Coach Hauck and respected the way he ran a program so I was fired up when I got the call that I could come in and be a G.A. this year," said Staggs, who is the first UNLV alum to be on staff since former quarterback Shane Steichen worked under Mike Sanford as a G.A. in 2008-09. "I'm enjoying everything I'm doing all day during camp. Coach and the entire staff have been great about showing me the ropes."

Staggs, who works primarily with the specials teams, said he is in his new profession for the long haul.

"I'm going to work at being in coaching. That is what I've set out to do and this is a great start at my alma mater." 

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

Individual tickets for all seven of UNLV's 2012 home football games are now on sale, while season tickets for the Rebels are also still available.

Prices are $40 on the sidelines, $25 in the end zone and $19 in the Value Zone for six of the seven games. There is special pricing for the Battle for the Fremont Cannon vs. Nevada, Reno on Oct. 13 ($50/$30/$25). Additional fees may apply.

Season tickets for 2012 cost $215 on the sidelines (additional RAF donation required in certain areas) and $115 in the end zone. A limited number of Value Zone Season Tickets are available in the North end of Sam Boyd Stadium for just $90.

There is also a special "4-for-3" season ticket offer in the Value Zone for new season ticket purchasers allowing a fan to purchase four Value Zone Season Tickets for the price of three ($270). This is a limited time offer, while supplies last.

Log on to www.unlvtickets.com or call (702) 739-FANS (3267) to buy yours today or for more information regarding ticket offers and group pricing. For more information on Rebel football, visit www.unlvrebels.com.


 

 

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