herring full-time qb again
ELY — Caleb Herring sacrificed last season for the good of the football team by also playing wide receiver, but when given the chance in the spring to be a full-time quarterback again, he seized the opportunity.
Herring held off redshirt freshman Troy Hawthorne to secure the No. 2 spot behind sophomore Nick Sherry.
“It’s really important (because) finally I get to lock in on one thing and give all my attention to that aspect of the game,” Herring said. “It definitely helped me a lot, and I think in turn it will help the team out.”
Herring has kept his hold on the second position in training camp. On Tuesday, he threw a 58-yard pass to freshman Kendal Keys and has made plays with his hands and his feet.
His athleticism gives the Rebels a different look from what they get in Sherry, a more traditional dropback quarterback. Coach Bobby Hauck said UNLV might try to find ways to get Herring on the field and take advantage of his abilities.
Herring (6 feet 3 inches, 200 pounds) signed with UNLV to play in a spread offense under then-coach Mike Sanford. But then Hauck and his staff took over following the 2009 season, and Herring suddenly was part of a more conventional offense.
He started eight games in 2011 but then split time last season between quarterback and wide receiver.
“I was honestly thinking about what I could do to make the team better, wherever I could fit in,” Herring said. “If it was at receiver, then I was going to give 100 percent to receiver. Since it’s at quarterback now, I’m going to give 100 percent here.”
A deeper receiving corps made it easier for Herring to move back to quarterback. The Rebels could play as many as seven receivers if they had to play today.
They also should benefit from having a senior and former starter at backup QB.
“It’s a great deal and really something we haven’t had,” Hauck said. “You’re about as good as your backup quarterback some weeks because he’s got to come lead the charge. It’s an interesting position because generally you’re the most popular player on the team externally.”
Coaches continued to experiment on the offensive line, sitting junior center Robert Waterman on Tuesday and giving junior guard Brian Roth a chance at that position. Waterman is still No. 1, but Hauck said now is the time to try different things. “You’ve got to have capable backups,” Hauck said. “Who knows what can happen? If you don’t, then you get into the 10th of October or something and you’re wondering who can play center. You can’t have that. They have to get the work here.” A tight battle for the No. 3 running back appears to be taking place. Hauck said even the starting spot is in question, though senior Tim Cornett and junior Adonis Smith consistently have run 1-2. But freshmen Keith Whitely and Henri Jusilla and junior Shaquille Murray-Lawrence have been sharing carries. Whitely probably will play immediately this season, regardless, by finding his way onto special teams. “Your young running backs, as they’re trying to break their way onto the depth chart, need to be good special teams players,” Hauck said. “If you look at the NFL, the backup running backs are a big part of the kicking game.” Senior linebacker Max Ehlert returned to practice after missing two days because of a hamstring injury.
Player Pos. Status
Taylor Barnhill TE Out
Eugene Johnson RB Out
Taylor Spencer WR Out
MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL