When a football team goes into full pads for the first time, there usually is a noticeable uptick in intensity.
That wasn’t the case for UNLV on Tuesday night at Sam Boyd Stadium, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t intense.
“This group, they get intense about the weight room; they’re intense with conditioning,” coach Tony Sanchez said. “The energy level with this group’s been really good. The intensity and focus level has been fantastic, so obviously it’s a lot more physical.
“The first day we got in shoulder pads (Sunday), we had to kind of, ‘Whoa, relax.’ They thought they were in a full-padded practice flying around. They bring the intensity every day.”
Sanchez wanted his team, which usually practices in the morning at Rebel Park, to experience a night workout at the stadium and get into a routine for preparing for it. The Rebels scrimmage at the stadium the next two Saturdays, and their first two games this season, Aug. 31 against Southern Utah and Sept. 7 against Arkansas State, are home at night.
UNLV worked on situational plays such as the offense getting the ball near its own end zone and short-yardage scenarios.
There also was the Rebel Drill. With the defense on one side and the offense on the other, in between would be a quarterback, a running back and two offensive linemen facing two defensive front players and a defensive back lined up deep. Both sides made their share of plays, and junior running back Charles Williams, in particular, broke at least one long run.
“(Defensive tackle) Kolo (Uasike), he’s been talking to me all week, so I had to get back at him,” Williams said.
Jericho Flowers, Sr., 5-10, 180
Aaron Lewis, Jr., 5-9, 180
Myles Plummer, Sr., 6-1, 185
Kyle Moses, So., 5-9, 185
Drew Tejchman, Jr., 5-11, 195
Phillip Hill, Fr., 5-11, 185
Evan Austrie, Sr., 6-0, 205
Greg Francis, Jr., 6-2, 195
■ Sanchez said junior quarterback Armani Rogers has completed about 69 percent of his passes this camp.
“Every day, Armani’s getting better and better and better,” Sanchez said. “Tonight, he was fantastic, so that was really good to see.”
■ Junior wide receiver Mekhi Stevenson, who injured an ankle Monday, was held out of practice because Sanchez said he wanted to give him more recovery time. Sanchez said Stevenson was cleared to practice.
■ Senior guard Justin Polu and and junior nose tackle Kolo Uasike were named to the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year watch list. Polu, who went to Silverado High School, was the only Rebel named to the preseason All-Mountain West team. Uasike made 24 tackles last season, including two for loss and a sack.
■ UNLV takes Wednesday off, but will reconvene in the morning at Sam Boyd for team picture day.