The UNLV football team ended its week by doing a walk-thru at Sam Boyd Stadium before changing into game day gear and posing for the official 2014 team photo as well as taking care of some other media obligations.
The squad had the remainder of the day off and will regroup Saturday at the Lied Athletic Complex. The next full practice for the Rebels will take place Monday night on campus after the first day of school. The team leaves Thursday for Tucson as the season opener is a week from today vs. Arizona on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. PT.
This officially concludes the 2014 installment of Camp Rebel. See you at the home opener on Sept. 6 vs. Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. Get your season or single-game tickets right now by calling (702) 739-FANS or visiting unlvtickets.com.
UNLV concluded its fall camp with a scrimmage at Broadbent Park in Ely on Thursday. The Rebels went through individual drills early in the session before coming together and going through situational plays.
The Rebels then made the 250-mile trip back to Las Vegas and arrived to campus in the early afternoon. The team will enter game-week preparation starting Monday ahead of the season opener at Arizona on August 29.
SENIORS SAY GOODBYE TO ELY
The UNLV seniors turned in the final Ely practice of their collegiate careers on Thursday and took some time to reflect on their years in White Pine County.
"There are definitely memories that are made up here," offensive lineman Brett Boyko said. "You are playing football with all of your friends and when you're not, you are in the meeting room and you are hanging out with your friends. So you get to spend a lot of time with your buddies. You definitely get to share a lot of laughs out here."
As the players left the field Thursday, senior receiver Devante Davis took a moment to let it all sink in.
"I have a lot of memories of having fun with your teammates and playing card games," Davis said. "A lot of classic Ely moments have happened on and off the field."
This is the ninth year that UNLV football traveled north to the town of just over 4,000 people. The small town atmosphere gives the players a chance to come together as a team, on and off the field.
"There is not a lot of distractions here so it forces the whole team to be together," Davis said. "That goes from learning each other's names to just learning more about each other. It definitely helps build team camaraderie because we are together at every moment."
Its elevation of 6,400 feet has also helped the players over the years get accustomed to the higher altitudes of road games in the Mountain West.
"I think it helps," Boyko said of practicing at higher elevation. "You get your lungs adapted to something a little harder than what it is practicing in Vegas. When we get a chance to do that up here and then take it back to Vegas, I think it helps."
From the annual Rookie Show at the end of camp, to famous milkshakes at Economy Drug, to the seniors getting special perks, there are also program traditions that are unique to Ely.
"When you're a senior, all of the guys take a picture with (equipment assistant) Jeremy," Davis said. "Another tradition is the first two years you are at Motel 6 and your last two years you are at the "Q" (La Quinta). Both are fun and are traditions that I hope live on here in Ely."
The Rebels bid their second home a fond farewell for another year.
UNLV football had its last two-a-day practice on Wednesday. The morning session at Broadbent Park saw the Rebels go through a no pad practice that wrapped up a little early. The team then broke for lunch and had a break before resuming with an afternoon full contact session.
Following the Rebels' last afternoon practice in Ely, NV, the team enjoyed a thanksgiving feast at the Bristlecone Convention Center.
UNLV will hold its final scrimmage of the fall on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Follow the scrimmage the team will then bus back to Las Vegas.
ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the country by storm and UNLV football is no exception.
Over the last few days, many of the players and staff have either had ice-cold water dumped over them or they plunged into the ice tubs that surround the field.
UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck got in on the action on Wednesday after Utah State coach Matt Wells challenged him earlier this week.
Four buckets of icy water were dumped over coach Hauck and he then challenged Fresno State's offensive coordinator Dave Schramm, Notre Dame's running backs coach Tony Alford and St. Louis Rams' secondary coach Chuck Cecil.
The video in its entirety is below.
UNLV PREVIEW FROM THE MOUNTAIN WEST
The Mountain West is counting down the days until the season starts and on Wednesday the conference focused on UNLV. The video below was produced before Blake Decker was named UNLV's starter but it is a nice preview video on the 2014 Rebels from the Mountain West Network.
UNLV football resumed fall camp on Tuesday with one afternoon practice at Broadbent Park in Ely, NV. The team went through a full-pad session and was treated to ice cream and popsicles at the end. After practice the team enjoyed an Italian style dinner full of lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and assorted vegetables.
The 2:30 p.m. practice start time was perfect for the Rebels as the weather was cooler and a little overcast. A thunderstorm set in during the evening hours and it rained into the night.
UNLV will tackle its last two-a-day of Camp Rebel on Wednesday, with its morning practice scheduled for 9:00 a.m. and its afternoon session slated for 3:30 p.m.
MORE MATAELE IN 2014
UNLV receiver Maika Mataele had a breakout season in 2013. He became a fan favorite because he was able to make unbelievable catches and helped power the Rebel offense. Below is an example of an outstanding catch he made last season against Utah State.
"Maika's middle name is consistency," wide receivers coach Cedric Cormier said. "From the day he walked in the door as an unknown walk-on to last year making big time catches on third down, he is consistent and a guy you can trust."
So it was pretty big news when UNLV got the word that its version of the "Flyin' Hawaiian" was coming back for another season after he was awarded an extension of eligibility waiver by the NCAA in May.
"It's exciting to come back and see some familiar faces and be back with the team," Mataele said. "I feel like a veteran coming back in, knowing what to do and trying to make the team better and just contribute."
Mataele's return means that 10 of the 13 players who caught at least one pass last season are scheduled to be back in 2014, accounting for 249 of the 299 total receptions by the Rebels.
"The good thing with Maika is that he can play every position in the receiving corps," Cormier said. "He adds smarts and toughness which is great to have."
Mataele, who originally attended Oregon State and then transferred to UNLV but did not play college football until the 2012 season, emerged last fall as an outstanding possession receiver with great hands. He finished third on the team with 36 receptions and 411 yards along with three touchdowns to help the Rebels earn their first bowl trip in 13 years.
"I'm looking to pickup where I left off," Mataele said. "We have a lot of people with the receiving corps that can do the same job, but whenever the coaching staff feels comfortable putting me in there I just want to do what I do, stay consistent and contribute to the team."
UNLV fans that were familiar seeing No. 87 zig-zag around the field are going to have to get used to seeing a new number. Mataele changed his number after was awarded another year.
"In high school I was number 10 and my dad was number 10," Mataele said. "Basically I wanted to keep it in the family and the number was open."
Now in his last fall camp as a Rebel, officially, Mataele is also embracing the chance to help some younger Rebel receivers grow. He can see the raw talent the youngsters have and just wants to be a veteran voice to them.
"I give them little pointers on what I know, Mataele said. "They tend to pick up things pretty quick, especially when they are in live situations. They also don't repeat the same mistakes. I'm really surprised that as just true freshmen they are out there making plays."
The graduate of Hawai'i's Kamehameha-Kapalana High School twice earned Academic All-Mountain West honors and graduated in May with his bachelor's degree in sociology with a minor in criminal justice. He will be one of 10 Rebel football players in the 2014 season to have already earned their degree.
The Rebels resumed two-a-day practices on Monday after having two consecutive days of one practice per day at Broadbent Park. The team's early session was lighter and they met for about two hours under clear conditions and then broke for lunch. In the afternoon, the team went through meetings before a full-pad practice with cooler conditions under partly cloudy skies.
UNLV will resume its practice schedule on Tuesday with one afternoon session in Ely.
KEYS ON OFFENSE AND DEFENSE
Kenny and Kendal Keys grew up competing against each other, as most brothers do. Their competitive spirit is not lost on any spectators at Broadbent Park this year. Multiple times the Keys brothers have gone head-to-head as Kenny is a defensive back and Kendal is a wide receiver.
"It has been a good battle," Kendal Keys said. "It's a brother rivalry and we definitely push each other."
"Growing up he was always the little brother that was trying to follow me," Kenny Keys said. "But now I find myself trying to be more energetic like he is."
The two played together at Helix High School in San Diego, Calif. and reunited this season when Kendal joined the Rebels after originally signing with Boise State out of high school.
"It's almost the same thing as playing together in high school, but more intense." Kendal said. "We make sure to get after each other like if I'm slacking he gets at me and if he's slacking I hop on him. Typically brotherly love."
The brotherly love is apparent off the field too as the pair, who are separated by 23 months, are excited about being Rebels.
"It's a great opportunity to play with my brother," Kenny said. "He is a great player and it's a once in a lifetime chance to compete against him."
One moment during the Rebels' fall camp that sticks out is when Kendal made a great catch on the sideline and Kenny was there to make a good tackle, but the younger sibling was able to hang on to the ball.
"I got one and it was pretty live," Kendal said. "I always want to make sure they throw the ball my way, especially when Kenny is on my side."
The older brother is up for the challenge too as he wants Kendal to remember who the older sibling is.
"It's always little brother against big brother and I can't let him win," Kenny Keys said. "But he wins sometimes because he is a great player."
The Keys brothers sit together during one of the lunches in Ely.
Coming off of UNLV football's first scrimmage of the fall, the Rebels gathered at Broadbent Park on Sunday. The team went through an early walk through and special team's drills before going through team drills to end the day. Following the practice the guys enjoyed pork, salmon, potatoes, macaroni and cheese and green beans for dinner before gathering for their evening meetings at White Pine High School.
AFTER THE WHISTLE
Earlier we gave you a photo gallery of all the action taking place at Broadbent Park in Ely. Tonight we thought we'd present some images of what happens after the final whistle of practice each day. So enjoy Camp Rebel Off the Field..
NEWBIES HIGHLIGHT SCRIMMAGE
UNLV returned to Broadbent Park in Ely this afternoon for its first scrimmage here at Camp Rebel. The coaches ran about 50 plays that mainly featured younger players on both sides of the ball.
"We didn't want anybody playing more than four to five plays in a row," head coach Bobby Hauck said when the met the media following the brief session. "We wanted to prevent injury and get some live plays for the guys who haven't had a bunch of them. We accomplished that."
The defense dominated the scrimmage, as a total of five sacks were recorded and junior transfer safety Blake Richmond intercepted two passes, including one that he returned 98 yards for a touchdown.
Richmond's teammate at Santa Rosa JC, new defensive end Najee Johnson, recorded two sacks and another tackle for loss. Returners Matt Lea and Iggy Porchia also finished the day with three tackles each.
Offensively, Eugene Johnson led the rushing attack with three attempts for 20 yards. Newcomer George Naufahu got the most carries with five for 10 yards. Jay Mitchell led the receivers, making three receptions for 34 yards. True freshman Kevin Thomson and redshirt freshman Jared Lebowitz were the only two quarterbacks to see action in the scrimmage.
After the practice the Rebels had an early dinner that included chicken, tri-tip and rice, capped by cupcakes, at the nearby Bristlecone Convention Center.
UNLV will have a lighter schedule on Sunday, as the players have a change to sleep in before meeting and then staging their only practice in the afternoon. The team will resume two-a-day practices on Monday.
"We have had good work up here and we had good work before we left Vegas," Hauck said. "The guys like it up here. They love football and like being together. We looked tired out there today -- and we should be. We'll use tomorrow to freshen them up, rest those legs and then finish up the week with a bang."
Blake Richmond returns an interception 98 yards for a TD.
Blake Richmond talks with the media following Saturday's scrimmage.
STARTING THINGS OFF
UNLV was back on the field Friday for a pair of practices and head coach Bobby Hauck did not leave Broadbent Park after the morning session until he announced that the Rebels had a new starting quarterback. Junior college transfer Blake Decker, who signed with UNLV at midyear and has been competing with junior Nick Sherry ever since, is slated to take the first snap at Arizona on August 29.
"He just played the best in camp and separated so it was time to do it," Hauck said. "We didn't want to have a freshman as our No 2 quarterback so we brought Blake in from JC and this is just the beginning for him."
A NJCAA Second Team All-American at Scottsdale Community College in 2013, Decker is a Mesa, Ariz., native who attended Mountain View High School. He completed 269 of his 456 attempts for 4,241 yards and a stunning 47 touchdowns last season for the Fighting Artichokes. The former church missionary will turn 24 years old next month.
Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Timm Rosenbach met with the media after the afternoon practice.
"He's a mature guy," Rosenbach said. "He has the ability to make plays, protects the football and operates the offense well for a guy who has just been here since spring. Nick (Sherry) is awesome. He's a team guy. I'm sure he's not happy but he's going to support Blake and prepare to play if it becomes his time."
Asked how much action Decker and Sherry will get in Saturday's scrimmage, Rosenbach said he was not sure.
"Both of them have played a ton of football in camp already."
JC transfer Blake Decker is set to start at QB for UNLV.
The temperature's rising in Ely (but then again, it's all relative) as it reached 83 degrees here with the return of the usual White Pine County August sun. The players enjoyed a chicken finger and pasta lunch before a lone afternoon practice and then it was back to the dining hall for ribs, chicken and green beans. It's back to two-a-days on Friday.
BUCKEYES, RED WOLVES ON THE SLATE
UNLV announced Thursday that it had added a game at Ohio State in 2017 and a home-and-home series with Arkansas State in 2017 and '18. Asked by a reporter what he thought about the prospect of facing OSU, head coach Bobby Hauck said he had not thought about the future games.
"I'm dealing with the University of Arizona," Hauck said. "As for 2017, I just hope to still be alive then."
WELCOME TO CAMP DO-A-LOT
Hauck always raves about the positives of training in Ely and this year is no different. In fact, the coaching staff as a whole seems to be pleased with the work being done up here. Hauck even deleted the final period of practice on Thursday to send the team to dinner early.
"We are in the best shape as a team since I've been here and we don't have to spend time teaching these guys how to practice so it's going well," Hauck said. "I really like our team and we are getting a lot done but we still have a lot to do to get ready for August 29."
Hump Day at Camp Rebel in Ely seemingly had it all: two separate practices, cloudy skies and then warm sunshine, a Thanksgiving-style team dinner capped by fresh apple and cherry pies and even a scout on hand from the New England Patriots.
There was also a lot of good football action on the field at Broadbent Park the last couple of days, so here's an OVERSIZED Photo Gallery of your Rebels preparing for the 2014 season. Enjoy -- college football's here!
UNLV returned for a single afternoon practice Tuesday here at Broadbent Park in Ely and again enjoyed temperatures in the 70s while clouds moved in and out and rain drops made brief appearances. After a spirited team session, the players headed over to the Bristlecone Convention Center to feast on salmon, grilled pork roast and plenty of macaroni and cheese to go with the usual salad bar and potato station.
With junior running back David Greene sitting this one out, two other backs looking for carries this fall took full advantage of the extra reps by turning in energetic, tough practices: sophomore Texan Keith Whitely, who got his feet wet a year ago and primarily touched the football as a punt returner in 2013; and junior college signee George Naufahu, a summer addition to the Rebel recruiting class out of the College of San Mateo.
"They both had a good day," said UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck. "All the running backs, and we have a good number of them, are in the mix and we'll see how it turns out. George is still refining what he knows of the offense but he has done a nice job. He is a big, physical guy and played that way today."
JC signee George Naufahu looks to earn carries with the Rebels this fall.
The year's first set of two-a-day practices is in the books after Monday's wild weather here in Ely. The Rebels practiced in shorts and helmets during the morning session under an overcast sky. Returning in the afternoon in full pads, the players enjoyed playing in rain (heavy for a few minutes), sun and cool breezes all during a two-hour period at Broadbent Park. The team was then treated across the street to a dinner of tri-tip steak, rice and Brussel sprouts with a chocolate and vanilla cupcake dessert set upon exit.
Leaving the city park field amid 67-degree temperatures, UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck was pleased.
"This was the first real day of training camp - with having two practices," Hauck said. "I was impressed with our effort and enthusiasm in both practices. I say it every year but if you ask the players, I think they'd tell you that they like the two-a-days better than the single practices."
The Rebels finally got some field goal work in during the beginning of Monday's second practice. The question is who will fill the kicking shoes of all-time leading scorer Nolan Kohorst, who graduated after posting 247 points over his four years? There is still a Kohorst here in camp, of course, but it's younger brother Quintin, who works as a team manager under Director of Equipment Paul Pucciarelli.
That leaves two scholarship candidates: junior-college signee Jonathan Leiva and sophomore Nico Bornand, who also plays linebacker for the Rebels. Leiva was signed out of Palomar College in San Marcos, Calif., after hitting seven of nine field-goal attempts last fall for the Comets. Bornand, a product of Santa Barbara's Dos Pueblos High School, kicked off for the Rebels in nine of 13 games as a freshman.
Hauck said Leiva was brought in to be the starter and has not done anything to derail that plan.
"He's come in and been very accurate during the early part of camp. His timing getting the ball off is excellent."
Sophomore LB/PK Nicolai Bornand
JC transfer PK Jonathan Leiva
Sunday was moving day for the UNLV football team as it got on the bus and hightailed it up to beautiful (and cool) Ely, Nev.
The 250-mile trek saw the players hit White Pine County and check into their respective motels and reassemble for the first full-pads practice of 2014 Camp Rebel. Taking the field at Broadbent Park in the center of town for the first time each August is always a highlight to a squad of players weary of the intense sun of Las Vegas -- and this year's weather here was flawless on day one. A slight breeze blew in the 75-degree temperatures while clouds gathered and even dropped just a trace of raindrops during the nearly three-hour session. A jacket or two was even spotted being pulled out among the smattering of onlookers.
Head Coach Bobby Hauck, always a big fan of UNLV's sojourn to this former mining boomtown, was pleased in his post-practice interview.
"I thought the guys did a good job of hopping off the bus and turning in a productive practice," Hauck said. "We are excited to be in Ely. The people here are great and the elevation is great for our conditioning. People who love football love coming up here."
After the drills, the team headed over to the convention center to enjoy a dinner that included lasagna, grilled chicken, buttered zucchini and spaghetti and meatballs. The Rebels got the night off from meetings and film study to get some much-needed sleep as the first set of two-a-day practices are scheduled for Monday. We'll be there as well!
UNLV offensive linemen Nick Gstrein (left) and Kyle Saxelid stayed after practice Sunday in Ely to play ball with some young UNLV fans.
UNLV reached its first weekend of Camp Rebel and turned in its final Las Vegas practice on Saturday morning on campus. Now, the entire squad and staff, including athletic trainers, video folks and team managers, will pack up and make the four-hour bus trip north to Ely on Sunday. After arriving in White Pine County, the Rebels will hold a single practice -- the first full-pad meeting of camp.
HAPPY HODGE: SID THE KID BACK FOR ONE MORE GO-ROUND
By W.G. Ramirez for UNLVRebels.com
Last year it made sense, when Sidney Hodge announced he was putting his cleats away for good.
He underwent season-ending shoulder surgery and planned on joining the military while becoming more of a family man with his wife and two children.
But something happened while his arm was in a sling - the UNLV Rebels became a formidable football member of the Mountain West Conference. And, knowing he could appeal to the NCAA to be a fifth-year senior, Hodge decided he would put his future on hold and return to the team with the blessing of the coaching staff. So, he'll return to the defensive backfield this fall for a team looking to go to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in history -- and nobody is complaining.
"You've got a guy who's been a three-year starter, he's got a ton of experience, he is a good example for our young guys on what to do and what not to do," said defensive coordinator Tim Hauck. "He's going to be a great asset for us, both on and off the field. It's great having a fifth-year guy around."
The Las Vegas Palo Verde High School product lost only twice in his as many years with the Panthers - once to powerhouse Bishop Gorman and the second by one point to Reno's McQueen in the 2009 state championship. He was 27-2 at Palo Verde. Going into his junior campaign with the Rebels, they were 6-33 during his tenure. So, it's understandable that he'd take another look at returning after watching last year's impressive turnaround.
"It was great watching the guys out there having fun and guys really playing well, so I think that played a big part in me coming back," Hodge said. "I missed the game so much, and obviously seeing them, it gave me a lot of motivation to come back and want to do well and actually get back to where we ended last season. I love the game of football, so I had to go with where my heart is. Coach (Bobby) Hauck welcomed me with open arms, I got my medical redshirt and I think everything is going pretty well."
A talented pair of seniors, Kenneth Penny and Tajh Hasson, come back at the corner spots, but both Bobby and Tim Hauck said Hodge's diversity allows them to move him around strategically as needed.
"He'll play at corner, and if we go nickel he'll slide into nickel," said Tim Hauck, who also oversees the cornerbacks. "That's the nice thing about Sid -- we can put him anywhere. This spring we had him go to the safety room and had him learn the safety position. He can play in the nickel spot, he's played there some, he understands that position. So it adds depth to what we're doing and not just depth but a guy that's been out there and actually experienced it. Anytime that you have basically three corners that have played lots and lots of snaps, it's a good thing. Especially in this conference where teams go three and four receivers."
Hodge and the Rebels don't have to wait for Mountain West Conference play to begin to defend fast-paced offensive attacks, as they'll open the season at Arizona against a Wildcat team that lit up Sam Boyd Stadium in a 58-13 blowout win last year (albeit via a rushing game that rumbled for 397 yards).
"I think we'll play good defense again this year, and that's because we have good veteran depth," Bobby Hauck said. "Having some depth at corner with Sid coming back - five deep at corner who can play - we should be able to cover people again this year so that may add up to us playing some good defense."
As for Hodge, he's just hoping to blend back into the stop unit, and be a part of another special season that has the potential of landing the Rebels back in the postseason.
"We have a lot of veterans coming back, so I don't think this is a team that I have to necessarily lead," Hodge said. "It's something that we have to work together to achieve what we know that we can, and that's to be one of the best defenses in the Mountain West."
Another beautiful weather day in Las Vegas on Friday and the UNLV football team celebrated by pulling on shoulder pads for the first time at Camp Rebel. The squad has one more practice in town on Saturday morning before hitting the road to Ely where the first full-pads practice will take place on Sunday afternoon.
Said head coach Bobby Hauck: "It was fun to see them knock each other around today."
SHIRLEY YOU MUST BE SERIOUS
UNLV added a big transfer on Friday as former Washington player Josh Shirley was accepted to graduate school and got on the field in uniform for a few minutes with his new teammates. Shirley (6-3, 230), a defensive end from Fontana, Calif., totaled 18 quarterback sacks in three seasons and 38 games with the Huskies. The former top recruit originally signed with UCLA out of Kaiser High School. After earning honorable mention Academic All-Pac-12 last year, he earned his bachelor's degree from UW in June. He is immediately eligible to play for the Rebels for one season and will pursue his master's degree in public administration at UNLV.
"We think Josh will help us on the defensive line," Hauck said. "Our people did a good job getting him admitted to graduate school and getting him out here today. We appreciate everyone's efforts and I think it shows a good spirit of cooperation on our campus. We really need to have eight guys who can play on our defensive line to accomplish the temp we expect to run. He's a veteran who has played a lot of games and it's always a good thing to not have to rely on freshmen. He's going to give us a boost."
Shirley is no stranger to Sam Boyd Stadium as he started the 2012 Las Vegas Bowl for the Huskies. He finished with three tackles and two forced fumbles in that game vs. Boise State. He met with the media following his debut appearance at UNLV Friday. Asked about seeing immediate playing time with his new squad, Shirley seemed focused on helping.
"We'll see how practice goes," said Shirley. "I'm going to try to benefit the team any way I can."
The Rebels wrapped up their second day of practice under clear skies and cooler than normal temperatures on Thursday. Camp UNLV had the players dressed in helmets and shorts as the team continues to go through its acclimation process.
The Rebels will begin padded practices on Friday, donning shoulder pads for the first time in 2014.
UNLV football has called Bill "Wildcat" Morris Rebel Park home for many years, but a fixture that has been around for just over a decade is its beautiful entryway. Players and fans enter the park by passing picturesque palm and pine trees, desert landscape and a metal arch.
They now also pass the names of every senior class that has beaten Nevada, Reno in the Battle for the Fremont Cannon.
The first plaque to go up came after the 2000 season when head coach John Robinson's Rebels beat UNR 38-7 in Las Vegas. UNLV followed that up by beating the Wolf Pack four more consecutive times.
"Coach Robinson wanted to do something for the seniors," Terry Cottle, Director of Football Operations, said. "If we beat Nevada, Reno we will put the seniors names up there with the score. It was kind of a motivational thing."
However, the rivalry shifted in 2005. Rebel fans and players didn't see the cannon in a Scarlet shade until 2013 when UNLV went into Reno and took the famed prize by defeating the Wolf Pack 27-22.
The senior class was immortalized on the wall of Rebel Park, but that wasn't the only plaque to go up this past spring. All of the senior classes prior to Robinson's era as well as the 2013 class now welcome fans and players to the field.
"The thing we did is that we made plaques for the senior classes of all the teams in Rebel football history that had beaten Reno," head coach Bobby Hauck said. "I thought that was the right thing to do. It's exciting. I hope those former Rebels come back and see their names on the wall here at our practice complex."
"There were obviously victories against UNR pre John Robinson," Cottle said. "We had three boosters affiliated with the Rebel Football Foundation that gave us some money to underwrite the project and we got those older generations done. Ric Griffith, the UNLV Rodeo Coach, has done a great job of getting the plaques done for us."
Walking past all of the plaques has only added fuel to the rising seniors' fire of getting a win over their rival.
"I want my name on that wall really badly," offensive lineman Brett Boyko said. "I live with one of the seniors from last year, Max Johnson, and he came down and saw it. It's cool because that is going to be there forever and you will be able to show your kids and grandkids. Obviously the cannon means a lot to us and we want to keep it here as long as we possibly can. Being a senior it comes together. You win the cannon - you get your name on the wall. That's the goal."
The Rebels and Wolf Pack will meet on November 29 in Las Vegas. It will mark the first time since 1977 that the rivalry will take place in the final regular season game.
"I know our seniors want their names up there," Hauck said. "It was Coach Robinson's idea and we have just built upon it. There have to be some special things about a rivalry game and that is one of them."
The first day of practice for the UNLV football team saw a gorgeous Las Vegas morning greet the Rebels on campus on Wednesday. Camp UNLV had the players dressed in helmets and shorts as the 2014 squad got to work on the field after a couple days of meetings and other preparations. While meeting with the media after the nearly three-hour session, head coach Bobby Hauck described Day One in one simple word: "Good."
After spending his first two years on campus wearing No. 7, sophomore linebacker Marc Philippi has earned the honor of wearing Battle Born Jersey No. 36 for the Rebels. Born and raised in Las Vegas, the graduate of national powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School redshirted his first season before earning his first letter in 2013. Hauck, who began the tradition at UNLV, chose Philippi to be the fifth Battle Born honoree. In 1864, Nevada became the 36th state to enter the Union, and the state's nickname, which appears on the flag, is "Battle Born," reflecting the state's entry on the Union side during the American Civil War. Rebel Football No. 36 -- complete with a patch on the back of the state flag -- is worn annually by a Nevadan who best exemplifies the Battle Born spirit of the state and the toughness and pride of Rebel Football.
"I was excited when Coach Hauck told me about it," Philippi said after debuting his new number Wednesday. "I have a lot of respect for the guys who wore this jersey before me and I am going to work hard to play up to the standard that they set for this number."
BATTLE BORN JERSEY NO. 36 HONOREES
2014 Marc Philippi, LB
2013 Alex Klorman, DL
2012 Sidney Hodge, DB
2011 Nate Carter, LB
2010 Ronnie Paulo, LB
After the players reported to camp on Monday, they got to have some fun on Tuesday before getting down to business by teaching the game of football to more than 550 local youngsters. The kids, who were age 6-14, took over Rebel Park to enjoy the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl Youth Football Clinic. Hosted by UNLV, the boys and girls on hand for the free event also heard mentoring lessons from head coach Bobby Hauck and special guest speaker David "Hot Dog" Hollis. Hollis lettered as a defensive back at UNLV from 1983-86, including being a part of the 1984 conference and bowl champion team, before moving on to a career in the NFL where he played for the Seahawks and Chiefs and then in the CFL. He now works for the State of Nevada's Youth Parole Bureau. The three-hour clinic on the sun-bathed fields ended with a chicken finger lunch courtesy of Raising Cane's, which was a presenting sponsor of this year's Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl event along with Terrible Herbst.
The Rebels will be back on the field Wednesday morning and this time do their own drills in Practice No. 1.