ELY — As a senior on his fourth tour of duty in this eastern Nevada town, UNLV linebacker Tim Hasson learned a long time ago he better get his sleep.
Hasson awakes at 6:30 a.m. almost each day to prepare for another season through a 15-hour daily blur of practices, meetings and walk-throughs.
“I think (Monday) night I got carried away and stayed up till about 11 (p.m.),” he said. “You would think after these long days that you would be drained at night, but it’s hard to go straight to sleep.
“Everybody’s used to waking up early now. You kind of know what you’re getting into if you stay up late. You’ve got to just deal with it.”
Each day isn’t quite the same.
Some are one-practice days; others have two practices. And about every fourth day, Hasson can sleep in a little while the offense lifts weights on a one-practice day, a rare time to truly rest.
The daily schedule was a major reason coach Bobby Hauck followed predecessor Mike Sanford’s practice of bringing training camp to Ely.
If the Rebels had stayed home, the oppressive Las Vegas heat this time of year would have forced them to practice early in the morning and at night. Such split practice times would upset the rest of the schedule with meetings and video reviews.
“Prep time’s bad,” Hauck said. “Sleep deprivation’s bad. You don’t have time to watch the practice film, so you don’t get corrections made between practices.”
He doesn’t have to worry about such issues in Ely, with practices that begin at 9 a.m. rather than 8 a.m., or in the middle of the afternoon as opposed to 7 p.m.
But it’s not all work for the players.
They get maybe an hour at the hotels between lunch and a video session for downtime, and Hasson passes the time with roommate Tim Cornett and teammates Devante Davis and Tajh Hasson, his brother, by playing spades and dominoes.
It’s a little bit of a mental break but more important a physical one.
“It’s really about their legs so they can get them back and go and run and play some more,” Hauck said.
Being in a remote location four hours north of Las Vegas makes following a demanding schedule easier.
The presence of family and friends doesn’t distract the players, and they can unite more as a team. But this also is a veteran team accustomed to playing together.
“This is a pretty focused group,” Hauck said. “They get it. We don’t worry too much about these guys.”
Training camp in Ely is a long grind, and this year it’s even longer than usual. The team came up a day earlier, giving the Rebels 12 practice days.
“You can’t think about the future,” said Hasson, who went to Cimarron-Memorial High School. “You’ve got to do it day by day, because if you think into the future, you’re like, ‘Aw, man, we don’t leave until next Wednesday.’ Mentally, it can kind of mess you up, but you take it day by day and have fun and know there are a lot of people who wish they can be in our shoes.
“And me being a senior, this is my last time being in Ely. I kind of thought about all that. I’ve got to be thankful for every day I’m out here and able to play. So I kind of enjoy it now.”
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.