Down On The Corner
Aug. 18, 2008
REBEL CAMP 2008 - UNLV football conducted a pair of practices Monday and the evening belonged to cornerback Geoffery Howard (San Diego, CA/Grossmont), who made several plays on a cool evening.
Howard picked off a pair of passes, including an athletic, over-the-shoulder snag on a deep pass intended for Justin Marvel (San Bernardino, CA/Arroyo Valley HS) near the end zone. Howard then kept his focus despite losing his helmet to come up with another deep pass during the pass skeleton drill.
"The fade is one of my favorite routes to defend," said a pleased Howard after practice. "Going up and fighting for the ball is a lot of fun."
That type of play from Howard on one side of the field is a big positive with Quinton Pointer (Cape Coral, FL/Mariner HS), who was listed as the other starter at corner heading into camp, on the sideline with a dislocated elbow suffered in the first week of camp.
LEARNING SITUATION IN OVERTIME
While the UNLV coaching staff uses every second of practice to teach and improve the Rebels, the end of Monday's 18-period session provided a great learning tool.
The Rebels conducted on overtime drill, where the No. 1 offense and defense went against the No. 2 squads. Following three plays, the top defense used a sack to force a long field goal, a 54-yard bomb that Kyle Watson (Rancho Cucamonga, CA/Texas Southern) drilled through the uprights.
From there Omar Clayton (Normal, IL/Normal Community HS) directed a drive that moved the top offense down inside the five yard line. But on first-and-goal Clayton and running back Channing Trotter (Mesa, AZ/Red Mountain HS) mishandled the exchange on a handoff and fumbled, which was recovered by converted safety Travis Dixon (Chandler, AZ/Hamilton HS), ending the drive.
Although it was just practice, Sanford made it clear afterwards that it is plays like that which end up being the difference between a win and a loss.
"That was a teaching situation and something to learn from," Sanford said. "In order to win, you have to eliminate mistakes in critical situations. It is a journey we are on. We are much better than what we have been in the past, but we still have a long way to go."
THE TANK TAKES A BREAK
A sore left hamstring kept Frank `The Tank' Summers (Oakland, CA/Laney College) on the sidelines Monday, giving Sanford a change to rest his work horse a little bit to make sure he is fresh and ready to go for the season opener.
"His legs are a little beat up and sore and a day off won't hurt him," Sanford said.
Never one to shy away from contact with the ball in his hands, Summers carried the rock 202 times last season, racking up 928 yards and six touchdowns. The 928 yards were the 13th-best in school history, and he also paced the team with four receiving scores out of the backfield.
ISHII BACK ON SCHOLARSHIP
It was announced after the morning practice that junior backup quarterback Dack Ishii (Huntington Beach, CA/Tennessee) was put back on scholarship for the fall. A walk-on, Ishii was awarded a scholarship last year, but the coaching staff took him off due to poor academic work.
Ishii put in a lot of work in camp, even working himself into the running for the starting punting position, and the coaching staff rewarded Ishii's efforts.
"He had earned a scholarship but didn't do so well academically, so we took him off," Sanford said. "His efforts though at practice have earned him a scholarship again.
UNLV will practice for the final time off campus on Tuesday morning, beginning at 9:40 a.m., and then the Rebels will return to Las Vegas that afternoon.