Wednesday night’s practice marked the UNLV football team’s last split practice of training camp.
The session featured the gray squad, comprising mostly of newcomers and backups. It was by far the liveliest practice thus far.
Though the team was just in helmets and shoulder pads and players were not supposed to tackle, some pretty solid hits were dished out.
During 11-on-11 near the end of practice, junior defensive end Vaha Mafi was even heard trash-talking the offensive unit on a few occasions.
“Competition. That’s what that is,” he said. “You’re out here working, and you’re teammates are trying to help you get better, and you’re helping them. That’s just a little friendly thing going on.”
The 11-on-11 session opened with Dack Ishii at quarterback. On the first play, he handed to C.J. Cox up the middle for about 3 yards. Ishii completed a swing pass to Imari Thompson on the next play in the right flat for a big gain up the right sideline.
Les Obie then came in at quarterback. On a designed keeper, Obie gained a few yards up the middle. He then had a very nice fake to the right and ran left for a big gain. Mafi, who was yelping at the offensive line after making a stop on the previous play, was badly burned on the play as he overpursued on the fake.
Chris Jones then took over under center. He mishandled the first snap, causing the play to be blown dead. Cox then carried up the middle for about 5 yards. Thompson ran left for a few yards on the next play.
Ishii re-entered and drew Isaako Aaitui offside on the first play. Then, Ishii rolled left and hit freshman Phillip Payne, a Western High School product, in stride for the biggest gain of the session on the final play of practice.
The news was actually good on cornerback Quinton Pointer. The sophomore had X-rays taken on the left elbow he dislocated Wednesday morning, and they showed no broken bones and no torn ligaments. Coach Mike Sanford said the injury might keep the starter out two to four weeks. At Wednesday’s night session, Austin Harrington suffered what Sanford called a “badly bruised” shin. The redshirt freshman tight end tried to continue practicing but could not. He is not expected to miss an extended period of time.
The entire team practices together for the first time Thursday at 8:45 a.m. They will again be in helmets and shoulder pads, with full pads going on for the first time Friday.