‘Full speed’ scrimmage important for Locos

With the United Football League season scheduled to open three weeks from today and his team in need of serious contact, Locomotives coach Jim Fassel will have his guys beat up on each other tonight at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The UFL does not play preseason games because of costs, fear of injury to star players and the reality of minimal interest. It also doesn’t have teams scrimmage each other for the same reason. But Fassel said he has to see how some of those on the bubble of making the 50-man roster fare in a gamelike situation, which is why he is staging a 90-minute scrimmage at 8 p.m.

“We’re going full speed,” Fassel said of the scrimmage, which will culminate a “FanFest” that the organization is holding at 6 p.m. “We need to see what some guys are capable of doing, and while we’ve been evaluating guys each day in practice, we’ll pay special attention to what they do in the scrimmage.”

Starting quarterback Tim Rattay, who has been held out of most drills the past two days as a precaution after his right arm and elbow became a little sore Wednesday, will play in the scrimmage.

“We’ve been very competitive on both sides of the ball, and I like the way they’ve been working,” said Fassel, whose team is wrapping up its second week of training camp. “We’ve got some serious battles to make this team in some areas, and the scrimmage will help some guys and may hurt some others.”

One area the Locos are particularly deep is in the secondary. Newcomers Michael Ray Garvin and C.J. Wallace have looked good, and incumbents Marcus Hamilton, Isaiah Trufant and Trey Young find themselves in a battle to gain a spot on the roster for the Sept. 18 opener against Florida.

The Locos also have a heated competition at wide receiver. Returnees Tab Perry, Samie Parker and Andrae Thurman appear safe, but the other two to three spots are being hotly contested. Jason Armstead, Eddy Newton, B.J. Dennard, Jovante Taylor and Brian Hernandez have looked good.

“The reality is some good football players may not make this team,” Fassel said. “Guys are really pushing each other hard, and we’re going to have some tough decisions to make soon.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.

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