Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | 2 a.m.
- UNLV quarterback Nick Sherry more confident with year of experience
- Tim Hauck working to upgrade UNLV football defense, help brother turn program into a winner
- Tim Cornett, UNLV's top returning running back, to miss spring practice while recovering from surgery
- Analysis: Five things to look for when UNLV football opens spring practice next week
- Former Rebel linebacker fares well at NFL scouting combine
- Former NFL player and coach becomes new UNLV defensive coordinator
- Two recruits change the landscape of UNLV recruiting class, give Hauck reasons to be optimistic
- All UNLV Football Coverage
Pay no attention to the man behind the placard.
On the offensive sideline at Rebels practice there’s an assistant with a stack of big signs, measuring about 2 1/2 by 4 feet, that on one side contain an image that correlates to a specific personnel group that should be on the field. For example, one picture is of the Las Vegas Strip sign at night.
“Timm (Rosenbach) likes doing it that way, so that’s what we’re doing,” UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said of his new offensive coordinator.
This is spring football practice, after all, so why not try out a few things.
“This is where we make the mistakes and fix them,” said quarterback Nick Sherry.
After a week off for spring break, the Rebels were back at Rebel Park on Monday, using their final of three mandated no-pads practices to ease back into the rhythm of things. Over the next two weeks UNLV will practice five more times (including two scrimmages) before breaking again for the summer. Between now and then there are still countless schemes to learn, plays to run and tackles to make.
As far as the dominant storyline coming into camp — the absence of several key players because of injuries, especially on offense — a lot of players are getting more reps than they otherwise would. And while it may make practice look worse in the short term, that’s helpful with an eye toward fall and the future.
“If we want to have the kind of seasons around here that we anticipate being excited about we have to be able to play two or two and a half deep, which has never been the case here,” Hauck said.
One of the newest guys getting those extra reps in practice is juco transfer Jack Killian at wide receiver. One of several midyear transfers who could make an impact in 2013, Killian is working at every receiver position in order to give himself the best possible chance to play.
Killian had 992 yards and 14 touchdowns on 15 catches last year for San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif. Hauck put him in the top group of six receivers that includes former quarterback Caleb Herring and Devante Davis, who’s one of the key returners missing spring practice because of a minor injury.
“Those numbers lead you to believe, which is true, that he catches everything that comes his way,” Hauck said of Killian, who could also be a speed threat.
Like a lot of guys, he’s all over the field trying to make himself stand out. The guy throwing Killian the ball most of the time, Sherry, is trying to do the same, though his status on the team is much more secure.
Sherry said he’s much more confident in is internal clock during practice — how quickly he needs to throw the ball, timing with his receivers, etc. — than this time last year because of his experience as a freshman. There are still things to learn, though, he said, and things to try. Like looking off to the sidelines for a play, hoping to see the Strip sign at night.
“We’re testing the waters right now,” Sherry said. “See what works, see what doesn’t.”