Aug. 20, 2008
LAS VEGAS - Meeting with five television outlets before Wednesday practice, a sun-drenched head coach Mike Sanford said he was pleased with the just-completed off-campus training camp held in Ely.
"We are a better football team than when we left (on Aug. 9) and we are a better team than a year ago at this time."
After the Rebels got back on their own turf, literally, tonight, the fourth-year head man said there was a transitional aspect of getting back at it at Rebel Park.
"It's great to be back and reconditioning ourselves to Las Vegas and our own fields. There were a lot of distractions to deal with as far as coming back to campus so I'd say our practice tonight was not great. Probably just above average."
While the team was away, operations folks refreshed the campus' AstroPlay synthetic turf fields, tightening up seams and re-rubberizing the surface, which made for lot of new black rubber bits all over the park.
"We are excited about what they did to the fields while we were gone," Sanford said about the turf that was originally installed in 2002. "It felt great."
The mood of practice took a sour turn for a while when senior defensive tackle Jacob Hales (Las Vegas/Las Vegas HS) was injured on one of the first contact plays. The team leader, who was wearing the defensive Black Jersey for the second time during camp, dislocated his left elbow while attempting to make a tackle on a running play up the middle.
"Jacob Hales dislocated his elbow but the good news is that it went back in place pretty quickly," Sanford said after practice. "He'll get X-rays on Thursday and we should know more by the middle of the day."
While one starter went down with an elbow injury, another one made progress from his similar mishap. Sophomore cornerback Quinton Pointer (Cape Coral, FL/Mariner HS) was out of his splint and was instead wearing a brace that allowed him to run for the first time since going down with a dislocated elbow back on August 6.
PERRY PART II
Defensive lineman Perry Eppenger (North Las Vegas/Cheyenne HS) was back uniform for the first time since being sent home from Ely over the weekend.
"We sent Perry home after an internal team matter," said Sanford. "He came to us today and asked to come back and said he wants to be a member of this team. Now he has to earn his way back and earn the respect and trust of his teammates and coaches."
OMAR SO FAR
Sophomore starting quarterback Omar Clayton (Normal, IL/Normal Community HS) was wearing the offensive Black Jersey on Wednesday after having a top-notch final practice effort in Ely one day previous. It marked the third time the signal-caller had earned the honor, more than anyone else on the team during this preseason camp.
Aug. 10: DB Geoffery Howard & WR Ryan Wolfe Aug. 11: DL Malo Taumua & OL Matt Murphy Aug. 12: DL Malo Taumua & RB Frank Summers Aug. 13: DL Jacob Hales & WR Ryan Wolfe Aug. 14: LB Starr Fuimaono & QB Omar Clayton Aug. 15: LB Jason Beauchamp & WR Casey Flair Aug. 17: LB Jason Beauchamp & OL Matt Murphy Aug. 18: DL Thor Pili & QB Omar Clayton Aug. 19: DB Geoffery Howard and WR Rodelin Anthony Aug. 20: DL Jacob Hales & QB Omar Clayton
UNLV will hold its final two-a-day on Thursday at Rebel Park. The practices are closed to the public. Kickoff vs. Utah State is now just over a week away (Saturday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium).