Updated 

Making room for the tight ends


ELY — UNLV coach Bobby Hauck likes a traditional offense, one that includes tight ends as a key element.

He installed that kind of offense when he was hired following the 2009 football season, and he recruited to it.

So even though Hauck took the bold step in January 2013 of hiring an offensive coordinator, Timm Rosenbach, who runs the spread offense, that didn’t mean the tight ends were completely out of the picture.

Those playing the position combined last season to catch 43 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns.

And if training camp is any indication, that position will be a key part of the offense heading into this season, which begins Aug. 29 at Arizona.

“It’s always going to be part of it,” Hauck said. “We want to be able to get heavier and pound it if we want to or need to. So those guys are a big part of it.

“You can be more physical in the run game. It gives you more protection options in the pass game. Whether you’re going to keep him in to protect or get him out in routes, the defense can’t predict that. It gives you a lot of versatility.”

Junior Jake Phillips (6 feet 6 inches, 255 pounds) said he wasn’t worried about his playing time diminishing when Rosenbach brought in the spread.

“It’s a really diverse offense,” said Phillips, who last season caught 19 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. “You never really give the defense anything to work on. You never let them know what we’re going to do next, so that helps us out both at tight end and any other position.”

Phillips and senior Taylor Barnhill (6-4, 240) will essentially share the position, and sophomore Andrew Price (6-6, 250) has come on strong toward the end of camp.

Senior Andrew Casey (6-4, 230) also has received a good amount of work, and redshirt freshman Kyle Anderson (6-3, 230) was moved from linebacker late last week. Anderson, a Silverado High School graduate, will play mostly fullback, though.

“Kyle Anderson as a fullback gives us another dimension in terms of having some real live two-back offense,” Hauck said.

NOTABLE

UNLV goes through its final double-practice session of camp today. It will be “a hard day because we’ve been going a lot of days straight, 16, 17 days straight,” Hauck said. “It’ll be hard in that regard, but (the players) will fight through it, so I don’t think it will faze them at all.” … Senior wide receiver Marcus Sullivan and junior guard Nick Gstrein returned to practice Tuesday. Sullivan had been out a week with a pulled muscle, Hauck said. Gstrein was poked in his left eye Monday morning and had to wear sunglasses that afternoon. … In practice, junior cornerback Fred Wilson made a nice interception on a pass from junior quarterback Nick Sherry that was intended for freshman wide receiver Kendal Keys. Freshman quarterback Kevin Thomson closed practiced with a 30-yard touchdown run while running the scout-team offense.

POSITION SPOTLIGHT

Offensive tackles/tight ends: The Rebels are set at tackle, with Brett Boyko a preseason All-Mountain West choice. He and Andrew Oberg started every game last season. UNLV also will use their tight ends a significant amount.

Left tackle

Brett Boyko, Sr., 6-7, 310

Kyle Saxelid, Fr., 6-7, 270

Right tackle

Andrew Oberg, Jr., 6-7, 295

Patrick Carroll, So., 6-5, 310

Tight end

Jake Phillips, Jr., 6-6, 255

Taylor Barnhill, Sr., 6-4, 240

Andrew Price, So., 6-6, 250

Andrew Casey, Sr., 6-4, 230

Kyle Anderson, Fr., 6-3, 230

SITTING OUT

Player, Pos., Status

Brett Boyko, OT, Out

Phillip Haynes, OL, Out

Jack Killian, WR, Out

Ron Scoggins, G, Out

MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

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