ELY — Quarterback Omar Clayton continues to justify the faith that UNLV coaches have in him. He wore the black jersey Monday, meaning he was the offense’s best player the previous day. Clayton has won the black two of the past four times.
"He did a tremendous job of practicing and leading the team, and did a great job with game management," coach Mike Sanford said.
Clayton also had his high moments at Monday morning’s practice.
He completed a 33-yard pass to wide receiver Phillip Payne, a Western High School graduate. Payne dove and grabbed the ball despite his jersey being held by cornerback Kenneth Johnson.
In a seven-on-seven drill, Clayton completed touchdown passes of 21 and 3 yards to wide receiver Rodelin Anthony, and 17 and 13 yards to wide receiver Ryan Wolfe. Clayton also had a 21-yard completion to wide receiver Casey Flair, who might have scored, but it was a no-tackling drill and defenders were closing.
Defensive end Thor Pili wore the black jersey on the defensive side.
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYS
UNLV’s defense also came through at times. Linebacker Ronnie Paulo, who attended Western, tackled tailback Imari Thompson for a 3-yard loss and sacked quarterback Mike Clausen for a loss of 10. Both plays occurred in an overtime drill. Also, Wiselet Rouzard’s safety blitz up the middle forced a Clayton throwaway.
In the seven-on-seven, cornerbacks Will Chandler, Lafayette Fletcher and Deante Purvis each broke up passes, and corner Geoffery Howard and safety Chris Jones of Shadow Ridge High combined for another breakup.
In the overtime drill, the starters won the coin toss and elected to play defense. It appeared the starters had the second-team offense in trouble after Paulo’s sack pushed the ball back to the 37-yard line, but kicker Kyle Watson nailed a 54-yard field goal to take a three-point lead.
The first-team offense moved to the 4, where it had first down. But then Clayton’s handoff to tailback Channing Trotter was bungled, and safety Travis Dixon fell on the ball to give the second-teamers the victory. Running backs coach Kenith Pope got all over Trotter for not securing the ball.
EARNING IT BACK
Dack Ishii, who is the No. 3 quarterback, starting holder and possible starting punter, earned back the scholarship he lost over the summer for not taking care of academics. Sanford said Ishii’s willingness to do whatever it took to help the team impressed coaches.
Tailback Frank Summers was held out to allow him to rest. Sanford said there was nothing seriously wrong, and he wasn’t worried about missed practice time because Summers is in terrific shape.
Safety Marquel Martin went out with a knee injury, but Sanford didn’t know the severity. Cornerback David Biggs did not practice because of a stomach illness that has hit part of the team.
Defensive end Isaako Aaitui (quadriceps) returned to practice.