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QB battle down to pair as Rebels conclude fall camp

UNLV coach Marcus Arroyo wouldn’t name a starting quarterback as the team concluded its fall camp Friday.

As the Rebels begin to prepare for their Aug. 27 season opener against Idaho State, Arroyo said he knows when he will decide on a starter. “Before kickoff,” he said with a grin.

As for what he wants to see from his starter. “A win,” Arroyo said as he begins his third season as the Rebels’ coach.

Arroyo’s longer answer to his expectations from his starter was just as straightforward. Whoever minimizes mistakes, helps generate explosive plays and is most efficient in practice will earn the job.

With the Rebels transitioning to a game week on Monday, the quarterback competition appears down to sophomore Harrison Bailey and junior Doug Brumfield.

Arroyo said they implemented elements of a game week as fall camp drew to a close, which helped raise the intensity at practice.

He’s seen the quarterbacks respond well to the challenges they’ve faced. He believes demanding more from his quarterbacks will better prepare whoever he chooses as the starter.

“We’re getting closer to the situations that matter,” Arroyo said. “We’re playing for keeps now.”

As a result, he said the level of scrutiny on the quarterbacks in practice has increased. “I am brutally honest with something that may be small, but could cost us in a game,” he said.

Bailey has noticed that Arroyo and the staff don’t hesitate to to coach him and the rest of the quarterbacks hard. In fact, Bailey appreciates it.

“(Arroyo) took me to levels that I’ve never been to,” the Tennessee transfer said. “He’s been teaching me things that nobody’s ever told me. … I’ve never had that type of coaching.”

Both Bailey and Brumfield said there is a healthy competition between all the quarterbacks that has made each of them better.

“It pushes you every rep to be perfect because there’s a guy behind that’s pushing you and trying to take your spot,” Brumfield said.

During spring football practices, Brumfield put his name in the transfer portal before returning to the program eight days later.

He said after coming back that he was going to have to earn back his teammates’ trust. He believes he has done that with his effort during practice and the way he’s prepared.

Along with leading on the field, he’s learned how to lead by finding meaning in everything he tells his teammates.

“I need to have the team feel my voice, not just hear me but feel what I am saying, feel my presence on the field,” Brumfield said.

Arroyo said a decision will ultimately be made sometime during the week as the team transitions its focus more to Idaho State. He will evaluate each quarterback’s efficiency through the game situations they face against the scout team defense in practice

No matter if it’s Bailey or Brumfield leading the offense, both said they are going to approach this upcoming week as if they are the starter until they are told otherwise.

Even if it is right before kickoff.

“If (Arroyo) told me two minutes before the game I was starting, I’m going to play with the same mentality and prepare the same way as if he told me three weeks ago,” Bailey said.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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Gordon: Next UNLV coach must win and win quickly

Any chase for a Mountain West championship begins with athletic director Erick Harper, who boldly set the expectations for Arroyo’s successor. He must win and win quickly.