ELY — Another day, another quarterback-to-safety change for UNLV. This time, it was incoming freshman Chris Jones, a Shadow Ridge High School graduate, making the move. He saw himself redshirting this season, and badly wanted to get on the field. So he approached coach Mike Sanford, who agreed to move him to safetY, which will allow him to compete on special teams.
"The experience that the other quarterbacks have, it didn’t look like that my playing time would be that high," Jones said.
Sanford said Jones has a chance to have his wish fulfilled and play this season.
"He’s a great-looking football player to play a lot of different positions, to be a quarterback, to be a receiver, but he’s got a safety body," Sanford said of the 6-foot-2-inch, 175-pounds Jones.
Jones is the second quarterback since camp opened last Monday to make that switch. Sophomore Travis Dixon did the same on the first day of practices.
DAY OF MOVES
Jones wasn’t the only one to change spots. Junior Luke Plante went from defensive end to tight end. His chances of playing time at defensive end were not good, and he has a chance to push for minutes on the offensive side of the ball.
Sophomore defensive end Preston Brooks has bruised ribs, but his status is uncertain. Incoming freshman tailback C.J. Cox hurt his shoulder, but the injury did not appear to be serious. Another tailback, senior David Peeples of Cheyenne High, had his walking boot removed from his foot and is being eased back into practice.
Freshman cornerback Deante Purvis walked on. Sanford called Purvis a player capable of playing in the Pacific-10 Conference, but he was derailed in recruiting by academics. Purvis became eligible, and UNLV picked him up. The Rebels also added incoming freshman defensive lineman Litani MoiMoi to the roster. The plan had been for him to grayshirt and enroll full time in January.
Incoming freshman wide receiver Phillip Payne, a Western High grad, made the play of the day with a twisting catch in the corner of the end zone over redshirt freshman cornerback Will Chandler, landing just inside the lines.
That was part of a goal-line scrimmage dominated by the offense.
Senior tailback Frank Summers ran untouched for a touchdown, redshirt freshman quarterback Mike Clausen completed a TD pass to senior wide receiver Gerold Rodriguez, and sophomore tailback Channing Trotter absorbed two big hits to burst up the middle for a score. The defense’s highlight occurred when senior defensive end Thor Pili tackled Trotter for a loss.