UNLV roster takes shape

ELY — UNLV football coach Bobby Hauck isn’t ready to start announcing jobs have been won — not with the season opener three weeks away – but it’s becoming clear the roster is shaping up.

Most of the players who left spring practices No. 1 have remained there, such as senior quarterback Omar Clayton.

He hasn’t been named the starter for the Sept. 4 opener against Wisconsin at Sam Boyd Stadium, but Clayton has been working with the first team and taking the most snaps.

There is still some uncertainty elsewhere, particularly at tailback. Junior C.J. Cox sat out Sunday’s practice, while senior Channing Trotter, redshirt freshman Bradley Randle and freshman Tim Cornett received repetitions.

Cox has missed time, and on Sunday wore a blue jersey signifying an injury. Hauck doesn’t discuss injuries unless a player is expected to miss a substantial amount of time.

“We have all kinds of pulls and sprains,” Hauck said.

But Cox’s absence doesn’t help his effort to become the starter, though the Rebels plan to play three backs, anyway.

“Any time you’re out, you’re going to lose some ground,” Hauck said. “There’s no doubt. Those guys that are practicing are the guys that are doing the work. Guys get banged up, and we expect them to fight back as soon as they can.”

Some players clearly are practicing at less than 100 percent. Randle, for example, has limped around for at least two days, but he stays on the field.

Hauck is finding out which players have the mentality to stick through a demanding and incredibly fast-paced training camp and which ones aren’t quite ready for the rigors.

“The expectation is it’s a physical game, and guys get banged up and they have to go,” Hauck said. “No one’s 100 percent, and nor will they be until next August. So I think our team’s gaining an understanding of that.”

n IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Bob Rather, who played linebacker in the 1970s and sometimes attends practice at Rebel Park, looks as if he could still play.

Now his son, Brett, actually could play this season. Brett Rather, a walk-on freshman, is at second-team fullback behind senior Anthony White.

“He’s a guy that gets by on hard work and toughness,” Hauck said of Rather.

Rather (5 feet 11 inches, 240 pounds), who went to Green Valley High School, is part of a roster full of players whose fathers played for the Rebels.

Sophomore defensive back Corbin Brown, junior linebacker Chris Jones and freshman kicker/punter Nolan Kohorst are the others.

“I knew I wanted to come here after he’d been here,” Rather said of following his dad, who coaches at Del Sol High School. “I tried to play linebacker like he had, but sometimes you’ve got to play wherever they put you.”

n NO WORD YET — Hauck hoped to have an answer on sophomore tailback Imari Thompson’s right leg injury, but wasn’t able to get an MRI for the player. Thompson is expected to return to Las Vegas today and have an MRI.

n LINE MOVEMENT — Sophomore Andrew Mack is being tried at center, moving senior John Gianninoto to guard.

“Mack has played well, and this is the time where we can experiment a little bit,” Hauck said. “We’re big on, with the offensive line, getting our best five out there. So if someone gets banged up, we want to be able to shuffle and get our best five players in the game.

”In order to do that, guys have to play multiple positions.”

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

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