REBELS TAKE PRACTICE FIELD IN PADS

UNLV’s football team went into pads this morning for the first time, and while coach Mike Sanford was pleased with how the starters practiced, he was a little concerned about those fighting for backup positions.

“As far as the guys who are competing to be twos and threes (on the depth chart), we have a long way to go,” Sanford said. “They’ve got to get better. Our expectation level has gone up because we’re further along. The guys that are returning (starters) are further along.”

The Rebels completed their first week of spring drills. They return to Rebel Park at 4 p.m. Monday. Practices are open to the public.

GETTING MORE COMFORTABLE

Travis Dixon had to deal with the dramatic switch from quarterback to safety last season, and then he struggled with a shoulder injury that hampered him during the season.

Now he has put that season behind him and is embracing his role at free safety, where Dixon is listed at No. 1 ahead of Marquel Martin.

“I like it over here a lot,” Dixon said. “I’m ready to help out with my part in the secondary.”

FAMILIAR FACE

Former UNLV assistant coach Brian White attended practice. He and his family had driven from Seattle to Las Vegas — his wife still has a condo here. They are staying two nights before White flies to Gainesville, Fla., where he will become the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator for national champion Florida. His family will drive the rest of the way, but he needs to get to work in his new job before spring practices being March 25.

White coached at UNLV from 1990 to 1992 and in 1994.

UNDER THE WEATHER

Center John Gianninoto did not practice because he had a 103-degree fever. Offensive tackle Yusef Rodgers is out for the spring after breaking an ankle playing basketball.

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