With Tuesday’s night practice complete, the entire UNLV football team has gotten through two full practices.
That means shoulder pads can be added to the equation.
College football teams are mandated by the NCAA to practice in helmets only for the first two practices of camp.
The same rule says the teams are then to practice two full days with just helmets and shoulder pads before players don full pads for the first time on the fifth day of camp.
According to coach Mike Sanford, the rules were established about five years ago after a few players died in the hot sun of early-season practice.
That doesn’t mean the “five-day acclimation period” as Sanford referred to it, is a waste by any means.
“We can get a lot out of the days in shorts,” Sanford said. “It’s really good. We’ve got time to put in some things and teach some things before we get those pads on.”
The last few portions of Tuesday night’s practice featured some 11-on-11 work, where the players worked mostly on the run game.
The night practice was the gray team, which is made up mostly of young players and depth guys.
Wednesday will be the last day of split practices, before the entire team hits the field together for the first time Thursday morning.
The two gray squad quarterbacks splitting reps were second-teamer Mike Clausen and freshman Chris Jones from Shadow Ridge High School.
Jones struggled with the option in the 11-on-11 as he and the center were having trouble with shotgun snaps.
In a 7-on-7 passing drill, Jones was inconsistent, but did have the best play of the session when he connected with Imari Thompson on a long pass down the left sideline. He also threw an interception to Bishop Gorman High product Beau Orth.
Clausen was much smoother, hitting 5 of 6 attempts in the 7-on-7 and getting the option plays going in the 11-on-11 session.
With the starting quarterback controversy over, Clausen is now firmly established as the backup quarterback as a redshirt freshman.
“I wouldn’t say it changes much,” he said. “But as far as knowing I’m number two, it kind of makes me prepare more mentally. I’m not very experienced, so it helps me get in the proper preparation knowing that I may be called upon to go in there any time.”