SENIOR HODGE HAS A LOT ON HIS PLATE
ELY — UNLV senior cornerback Sidney Hodge has plenty to keep his mind busy.
His wife, Natiyah, is expecting a son next month, and the couple have a daughter, Cameron, who turns 3 on Aug. 25.
Also, Natiyah, who has been a member of the Army National Guard, might go on active duty after she gives birth.
As for Hodge, he’s occupied trying to establish himself as a cornerback that opposing quarterbacks don’t want to throw near, and it’s coach Bobby Hauck’s expectation he will be that kind of defender.
“He’s a guy that’s got really quality cover skills and good ball skills,” Hauck said. “We want him to be able to win most of the time when he’s covering a wideout. We want to have the ability to lean on him and say, ‘OK, he can take care of that. We can tilt coverage other ways.’ ”
Hodge (5 feet 8 inches, 180 pounds) wants his final season to be a memorable one. The Palo Verde High School graduate has 28 career starts.
“No matter who I play, I just want to take them out of their game,” Hodge said. “It’s my last go-round. I’ve been there. I’ve seen a lot of stuff in my four years here. I’ve pretty much seen it all. It’ll be pretty useful.”
Freshman Nicolai Bornand signed with UNLV to play linebacker, and he’s being given that chance. But he also might become the Rebels’ punter. Bornand is competing with UNR sophomore transfer and Arbor View High product Logan Yunker. Though Hauck said he expected a close competition, he also noted Bornand is adjusting to college football. “He’s a freshman who came in, so the conditioning part of it isn’t quite as good,” Hauck said. “He’s a little sore right now, so he’s not hitting the ball as well because he is playing linebacker, too.” ESPN ranked Bornand the nation’s 16th-best recruit at kicker. … Sophomore Kenny Keys, listed as a starting safety, is out of camp indefinitely tending to a personal matter. Hauck said he didn’t know when Keys might return. Junior Mike Horsey ran with the starters Sunday. … Sophomore end Sonny Sanitoa had a sack and tackle for loss. He also pushed junior offensive left tackle Brett Boyko nearly into sophomore quarterback Nick Sherry, forcing an incomplete pass. Hauck said if Sanitoa can become more consistent and improve his technical ability, “he’s got a chance to become a really good player.” Sanitoa led the Rebels with five sacks last season, despite missing the first month with a knee injury. … Redshirt freshman Eric Noone and junior Brian Roth are working as the No. 1 guards. … Max Ehlert, who is competing with fellow senior Tani Maka at middle linebacker, didn’t practice because of a strained hamstring. Hauck said he expected Ehlert to return today.
Player Pos. Status
Taylor Barnhill TE Out
Max Ehlert LB Out
Eugene Johnson RB Out
Taylor Spencer WR Out
MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL