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Inspired Bradley Randle making a push up UNLV’s running back ranks

Randle hopes that this is the year when he lives up to the hype that followed him to Las Vegas

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Sam Morris

UNLV running back Bradley Randle dives into the end zone against UNR during the first half of a game on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010, at Sam Boyd Stadium.

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ELY — Time is of the essence, and UNLV sophomore running back Bradley Randle doesn't need anyone to remind him of that.

"I know this year I've got to answer a lot of questions," he said. "I'm ready and willing to answer the questions I need to answer, because as a freshman, I had a lot of hype coming in. I think it's about time for me to turn it on and show people what I can do."

If he doesn't do so now, it's not a given that another opportunity to be a featured back for the Rebels will present itself.

There's little question that sophomore Tim Cornett, who was the Rebels' leading rusher a year ago, will occupy the top spot on the depth chart once the season begins on Sept. 1 at Wisconsin.

Who would fill the No. 2 role was unclear coming into the fall, but Randle has been nothing short of impressive so far. It now appears that he could be close to locking down the gig.

His top competition coming in was another highly touted recruit in Dionza Bradford. Bradford has been banged up as of late, and Randle has pounced on the opportunity to take more carries in team drills. He's busted some impressive runs on almost a daily basis, with his biggest highlight coming on Wednesday when he trucked over safety Dre Crawford at the goal line in a red zone drill.

"What I would say is, by design, I hope all of our players feel that to a degree," head coach Bobby Hauck said of the pressure to either perform or be passed up. "That's how he ought to feel because, frankly, that's how it is. That being said, he's done a really nice job. He's had a good camp so far and it's been fun to watch him."

Randle came to UNLV as the prized piece in Mike Sanford's 2009 recruiting class. Ranked as the No. 50 running back in his class by Rivals.com, he came to Las Vegas after rushing for 1,593 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior at Vista Murrieta (Calif.) High.

After redshirting in 2009, he was part of UNLV's running back by committee a year ago, rushing for 109 yards on 25 carries while also standing out on special teams.

At just 5-foot-7, his body struggled some to hold up last season, leading Randle to change up his training regimen this summer. He focused on trimming down his upper body, while building more strength and driving ability an his legs. He played at roughly 205 pounds a year ago but is currently at 195.

Randle also changed up his stance in the backfield, which in his eyes is just as important a transformation.

"I'm standing lower," he said. "It's a good thing, because I can press in a hole, pop out and burst."

So far, the ability to hide himself better behind his offensive line has resulted in a string of strong showings this fall. Randle is hoping it translates this fall when UNLV again tries to establish a run-heavy offensive attack.

"(Defensive coordinator Kraig Paulson) told me the other day, 'Man, we've got to figure out a way to stop you. You've got damn near 2,000 yards,'" Randle joked. "I know that it kind of looks like I took a break from football the past couple of years.

"I'm just ready to answer (the questions) this year)."

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  1. Good to hear BRADLEY is making noise in camp. Feels like he has been @ UNLV forever. Git r done Bradley