Spring Wrap: UNLV Rebels
By Ken Pomponio
While six Mountain West Conference squads still are thigh-pad deep in spring drills, the remaining six programs already have wrapped up their allotted 15 practices.
Here’s a glance at how the spring went for UNLV, which is trying to right itself after a third straight two-win season in 2012:
- While no Rebel can match the spring of former UNLV golfer and Masters champion Adam Scott, the team as a whole showed it has some depth this spring. And that’s reflected in the Rebels’ two-deep depth chart, where only three starting positions are completely up for grabs heading into fall camp, according to a story in the Las Vegas Sun. “It’s nice to come out of spring without a bunch of unknowns,” embattled coach Bobby Hauck told the newspaper. "We know what we have, and we feel good about it."
- Some of that depth was on display along the offensive line, where the Rebels were without two projected starters all spring in tackle Brett Boyko and center Robert Waterman. Both are recovering from offseason surgeries. Junior-to-be Brian Roth, a contender to start at right guard, seamlessly shifted over to center when called upon and anchored the short-handed line throughout camp.
- In addition to Boyko and Waterman, UNLV also was missing its leading rusher from the past three seasons (Tim Cornett), its top receiver in 2012 (Devante Davis) and key defensive-line contributor Parker Holloway as they sat out the spring to recover from surgeries as well. None of the five are expected to miss any serious time in fall camp, but until they’re back on the field and contributing, there’s going to be some anxiousness in the desert.
- One of the three positions still up for grabs is a crucial one as seniors Tani Maka and Max Ehlert are locked in a battle to replace last season’s leading tackler John Lotulelei, one of only two UNLV All-Mountain West selections a year ago. A resolution will have to wait for August.
- With Cornett sidelined, Northwestern transfer Adonis Smith stepped up at tailback, rushing for a game-high 71 yards and a TD on 10 carries in the Scarlet’s 13-0 win over the Gray.
- Starting quarterback Nick Sherry, a freshman starter for UNLV last autumn, was 7-of-10 for 59 yards and an interception, while redshirt freshman Troy Hawthorne stated his case in his battle for the backup role with a 4-of-5, 40-yard outing, which also included the game’s other TD on a 6-yard scoring run.
- Sophomore linebacker Trent Langham finished with five total tackles, three for losses, and swatted down an extra-point attempt.
The Rebels get a jump on the season with a Thursday-night visit to the Big Ten’s Minnesota on Aug. 29.