ELY — Football practice is boring. Even for the players. So UNLV coaches are trying to make it more interesting by ending some practices with games that get the entire team fired up.
On Tuesday, linemen fielded punts as teammates cheered them on. Then Wednesday evening, coaches broke out two frisbees and created separate games of frisbee football, with shirts playing skins on each side of the 50-yard line.
It was the happiest the players had been since they came to this town where hardly anyone smiles. The players yelled and cheered and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
“It was a lot of fun,” offensive guard Johan Asiata said. “It takes the workload off our shoulders. When we come in, we expect to get a hard day’s work and bang it out and get it done. (The game) opens our minds.”
Previous coach John Robinson used to stage similar games to end practices. It may not seem like a big deal, but it helps the players keep going during these grueling days of training camp.
KNOCK DOWN THAT PASS!
If a receiver is surrounded by three defenders, someone should deflect the ball. But give credit to the pass by quarterback Omar Clayton and the catch by wide receiver Gerold Rodriguez. Clayton put the downfield pass where the three defenders had trouble making the play, and Rodriguez made an amazing grab to come down with the ball for the highlight of the afternoon practice.
Rodriguez didn’t realize he had so many players around him until afterward.
“After I came down, I actually surprised myself,” he said.
The top defensive play of the session occurred when cornerback Ryan Tillman’s big hit on wide receiver Jerriman Robinson broke up a pass.
WHAT IS IT WITH THIS TOWN?
A UNLV staffer brought up a great point. The weather in Ely this time of year is amazing, especially compared to the oven that is Las Vegas. Yet, there are no signs of residents enjoying barbecues or taking walks or riding bikes. Say what you want about the lack of community in Las Vegas, but at least during our three days of spring, residents try to take advantage of it.