Flair set to grab receiving record

Ryan Wolfe gets most of the publicity, and Phillip Payne is the freshman sensation.

But senior Casey Flair quietly is set to become UNLV's all-time leading receiver, which could happen when Air Force visits Sam Boyd Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday.

He sits in third place with 180 receptions, just three behind No. 2 Earvin Johnson and seven from Damon Williams.

"He's everything that you want in a player," coach Mike Sanford said of Flair.

Whether Flair sets the record this weekend or the following week at Brigham Young, he probably won't hold the mark for more than a year. Wolfe, a junior, is fourth with 162 catches and quickly moving up.

• NO NEWS YET -- Not much has changed since a week ago when Sanford said he and his staff would look hard at making defensive changes.

He said Monday changes could occur in the secondary, but nothing had been decided. Even if the starting four remains intact, Sanford said reserves, such as Deante' Purvis, Lorenzo Bursey Jr., Beau Orth, Chris Jones and Travis Dixon, could see increased playing time.

Purvis is a freshman who has played mostly on special teams, and Bursey has played nickelback.

Orth (Bishop Gorman) and Jones (Shadow Ridge) are local freshmen who have played some. Jones and Dixon are converted quarterbacks.

The Rebels need to find a way to step up defensively after giving up 1,130 yards and 90 points over the past two games. They have allowed more than 200 yards rushing three times this season, and Air Force enters Saturday's game fifth nationally and first in the Mountain West Conference with 292.5 yards rushing per game.

• UNDER THE KNIFE -- Linebacker Starr Fuimaono has undergone successful left knee surgery. He was injured Sept. 6 at Utah, and is out for the season.

Also, backup defensive end Preston Brooks is doubtful for Saturday with a concussion.

• GONE -- Backup middle linebacker Jimmy Miller left the team. Rusty Worthen, a Palo Verde graduate, had held the No. 2 position during much of the season and takes over full time.

• REMEMBERING THE PAST -- Members of the 1968 UNLV team, the first in school history, will be honored before Saturday's game.

That team went 8-1.

For more information, call the UNLV football offices at 895-2474.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.