Rebels Right In Tempo
Aug. 18, 2009
CAMP REBEL - UNLV staged a physical, nearly two-hour practice in full gear Tuesday morning, running through 22 periods in what was the squad's only practice of the day.
Although there was no live scrimmaging during the practice, there was plenty of contact during tackling drills and running game situations, and head coach Mike Sanford was very pleased with the work his charges turned in.
"This is the most competitive the offense and the defense has been in camp, and it is not a matter of the offense taking a step back, but the defense has really stepped up," Sanford said. "This has been a great camp so far."
Each side of the ball made a lot of plays, with the secondary making several nice breakups, including Courtney Bridget (Baltimore, MD/Dunbar HS) going up and picking off a pass on a fade route in the end zone during the middle of practice. During the pass skeleton session of practice, the offense and defense ran crisply through the drill, with Omar Clayton (Normal, IL/Normal Community HS) hooking up several times with Ryan Wolfe (Santa Clarita, CA/Hart HS). Also, defensive backs Mike Grant (Fresno, CA/Sierra College) and Warren Zeigler (San Leandro, CA/College of San Mateo) each made nice breaks on the ball and broke up passes.
"Our tempo is the fastest it has been," Sanford said. "We got through a lot of plays today without a lot of mistakes, and our concentration has been very good."
Back on the field was sophomore running back C.J. Cox (Garland, TX/North Garland HS), who went through part of practice and will go through half of the morning practice Wednesday and then probably three-fourths of Friday's practice. Cox, who could be ready to go through an entire practice on Saturday, is in the mix
But with the season opener against Sacramento State fast approaching, Sanford said a decision could be made later next week on who will be the Rebels' starter at running back against the Hornets. Cox is in a group that includes Chris Brogdon (Phoenix, AZ/Desert Vista HS), Channing Trotter (Mesa, AZ/Red Mountain HS), Imari Thompson (DeSoto, TX/Cedar Hill HS) and Bradley Randle (Murrieta, CA/Vista Murrieta HS).
"We got to get him (Cox) in there and then make some decisions," Sanford said. "We have a time issue we are dealing with."
BLACK JERSEY: For the third time during Camp Rebel, a repeat winner was wearing the Black Jersey during Tuesday morning's practice, with offensive lineman Matt Murphy (Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS) earning the garb for the second time. In fact, it marked the third time in the last four days that a member of the UNLV offensive line earned the coveted Black Jersey.
Murphy has been a cornerstone of the offensive line the past two seasons, and he, along with four returning starters, has had a strong preseason camp.
"Camp has gone well now that I know what to expect since this is my third one," Murphy said. "The offensive line has been working a lot more cohesively as a unit and we are ready for what the defense brings each day in practice."
Junior linebacker Ronnie Paulo (Las Vegas, NV/Western HS) earned the Black Jersey on defense, keeping it in the linebacker corps for the third straight day. Other nominees included wide receiver Jerriman Robinson (Rialto, CA/Texas Southern) on offense and defensive lineman Martin Tevaseu (Boonville, CA/Santa Rosa JC).
2009 CAMP REBEL BLACK JERSEY WINNERS
Aug. 10: CB Quinton Pointer Aug. 11: Travel Day Aug. 12: QB Omar Clayton & LB Jason Beauchamp Aug. 13: WR Rodelin Anthony & DL Martin Tevaseu Aug. 14: WR Ryan Wolfe & DE Heivaha Mafi Aug. 15: OL Matt Murphy & DB Alex De Giacomo Aug. 16: OL John Gianninoto & LB Beau Orth Aug. 17: QB Omar Clayton & LB Jason Beauchamp Aug. 18: OL Matt Murphy & LB Ronnie PauloGOODBYE RED STRIPE: Two more Rebels had the red stripe removed from their helmet following Tuesday's practice, and they were offensive lineman Andrew Mack (Plano, TX/Plano West HS) and linebacker Jon Kirschbaum (Las Vegas, NV/Del Sol HS).
WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE: UNLV will hold its final two-a-day of preseason camp on Wednesday, practicing in the morning from 9:55-11:35 a.m. and then again from 5:35-7:05 p.m.