Quarterback competition heads into home stretch

ELY — Senior Omar Clayton and junior Mike Clausen have moved ahead of redshirt freshman Caleb Herring in the battle to be UNLV’s starting quarterback.

“There’s still time to rally, but those two have played a little bit better than (Herring) has,” coach Bobby Hauck said following Friday’s football practice.

Clayton and Clausen will share first-team snaps when the Rebels scrimmage this morning at Broadbent Park.

UNLV practices at 8:30, and the scrimmage will be at about 9:15. The Rebels return to Las Vegas afterward.

Hauck said he didn’t know if a starting quarterback would be named next week or the week of the Sept. 4 season opener against Wisconsin at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Clayton said he didn’t want to make too much of the scrimmage but added it’s “important for me to come out and play well and try to have my best day I’ve had all camp. If the coaches make a decision off tomorrow’s scrimmage, I want to leave a really good impression of myself.”

Clayton and Clausen have looked sharp this week, and both said they have been pleased with the practices they have turned in.

“I think it’s been a really good week,” Clausen said. “I kind of settled down and let the offense kind of settle in.”

■ SEASON OVER? — Sophomore tailback Imari Thompson will need surgery on his right foot, probably ending his season. He was injured Aug. 14.

Thompson already planned to apply for a medical redshirt following his senior season after an ankle injury limited him to two games in 2008. If Thompson doesn’t return this season, he won’t have to forfeit a year of eligibility if the medical redshirt is granted.

■ EXCHANGE PROGRAM — Former UNLV top recruit Jordan Barrett, who was a tight end and fullback before leaving the Rebels, is a UCLA walk-on.

Hauck coached under Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel at Colorado and Washington, and before training camp picked up freshman linebacker Tani Maka, who originally signed with UCLA but didn’t academically qualify.

Don’t be surprised if the schools cooperate further concerning player matters.

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

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