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Defensive end Bell attempts to fight through injury woes

ELY — UNLV junior defensive end B.J. Bell walked off the practice field Tuesday, holding his right shoulder, and it looked as if his day might be over.

But Bell made it back onto the field and later combined with cornerback Sidney Hodge to stuff tailback Bradley Randle on a goal-line play.

Injury has seemingly been a constant for Bell during his time at UNLV.

He redshirted because of a shoulder injury after transferring from Santa Ana (Calif.) College last year and also missed spring practice with the injury.

Bell spent the first part of training camp in a blue jersey, denoting an injured player, but since returning to full strength Wednesday has had many positive moments.

“Everyone is playing out here hurt,” Bell said. “I’ve got to get past it, but it’s been kind of hard. I’ve got to suck it up, and I’ve been sucking it up.”

The 6-foot-2-inch, 260-pound Bell has flashed the ability that helped him record 24½ tackles for loss and 10 sacks for Santa Ana as a sophomore.

“We’ve got to keep him on the increase,” coach Bobby Hauck said. “Some days are better than others. He’s trying to fight through it, and he’s done some good things.”

■ GETTING HEATED — Two fights broke out Tuesday in what has probably been the Rebels’ most intense camp in many years.

Junior defensive end James Dunlap tussled with sophomore guard Doug Zismann, and junior cornerback Deante Purvis sparred with freshman wide receiver Connor Embree.

Unlike previous coach Mike Sanford, Hauck likes to pit the first-team offense against the first-team defense and the second-teamers against each other. Sanford preferred to have the first-team offense face the second-team defense, and vice versa.

Hauck’s approach has helped create tension as players on both sides fight for their units, sometimes literally.

“This is a hard stretch,” Hauck said. “This isn’t easy. It’s taxing physically and mentally, and you’ve got to be mentally tough to get through this. And that’s, frankly, kind of the point.”

■ MORE WORK FOR CLAUSEN — Junior quarterback Mike Clausen took first-team snaps for the second day in a row, partly to make up for repetitions he missed last week while sitting out two days with an ankle injury.

Hauck has said he wants to try to even out the reps in camp among Clausen, senior Omar Clayton and redshirt freshman Caleb Herring before naming his starting quarterback.

No decision is expected before Saturday’s scrimmage.

■ STILL WAITING — Sophomore tailback Imari Thompson was awaiting the results of an MRI exam on his right leg.

“It’s not going to be good,” Hauck said.

■ SLICK HANDLES — The Rebels refer to freshman defensive tackles Kjelby Oiland and Tyler Gaston as “Oil” and “Gas.”

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at
manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.

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