Aug. 19, 2011
CAMP REBEL (UNLVRebels.com) - You would think that with UNLV's only preseason All-Mountain West selection primarily on the sidelines during camp so far, second-year receivers coach Cedric Cormier would be worried about his position's progress.
However, with standout senior Phillip Payne still working his way back from an injury, the team's ball catchers have instead thrived at Camp Rebel.
"We've just had great competition every practice - and it's come from a lot of guys," said Cormier. "I told the guys before we started that with Phil over there on the sidelines, someone else would have to step up and it's been a different guy every day. There's a silver lining because people like Kurt Davis and Taylor Spencer and Davante Davis are getting a lot more reps (in Payne's place)."
Sophomore North Las Vegas product Marcus Sullivan, who wowed people last year primarily as a kickoff return man, has been a sometimes-jaw-dropping offensive star since camp began last week.
"As a staff, we've seen how good Marcus can be with the ball in his hands so we're not surprised to see what he's done up here," Cormier said. "I guess you could say we saw this coming."
"Another guy who is emerging recently is Michael Johnson. While Phil is out he's stepped up into a leadership role on this team (as he heads into his senior season), which is great to see."
Asked for any surprises out of his group and Cormier mentioned Bishop Gorman High School product Trey Mays, who walked on to the squad and last year caught six passes for 82 yards.
"Mays has been great up here and we're proud of him."
FUN FRIDAY FOOTBALL NOTES:
--Redshirt freshman William Vea out Alamo, NV, has been moved from linebacker to fullback.
"We were shorthanded at fullback," said UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck. "It's all about balancing your depth as best you can. We had a staff meeting and he was the pick (to move to FB). He's good at it too."
Look for a full story on Vea in Saturday's Las Vegas Review-Journal by beat writer Mark Anderson.
--The team turned in a two-a-day Friday in anticipation of Saturday's afternoon scrimmage, which is the first of two scheduled for Camp Rebel. The final such session is set for Thursday morning, after which UNLV will leave its off-campus site and return to Las Vegas.
--Former UNLV offensive lineman Joe Hawley made his first career NFL start on Friday. He lined up at center for his Atlanta Falcons as they took on the Jacksonville Jaguars.