Stevie G's spring practice report

Spring football officially went past the halfway mark with workout No. 8 on Wednesday afternoon at Rebel Park. Rebel Nation editor Steve Guiremand, subbing for vacationing Terry Tarver, gives his thoughts on what he saw and reveals the names of a couple of surprise visitors on hand.

First off, fans of Terry Tarver, a.k.a. Rebelations, don't fret. The big guy should be back in time for Friday afternoon's scrimmage at 4:40 or so at Rebel Park. But, good father that he is, he took the little ones camping for a few days during Easter break.

So I'll give you some of my observations of what went on at spring practice on Wednesday.

* Tony Cade (broken cheek) and Faauo Faga were NOT at practice although Cade could be back next week. Faga and brother Omega both missed practice attending a family funeral in California.

* A couple of surprise visitors. Former Rebel defensive line star Marlon "Suge" Knight of Death Row records fame stopped by for a few minutes and chatted with his old trainer, Kyle Wilson, and equipment man Paul "Pooch" Pucciarelli. However, he didn't stick around until the end of practice or address the team.

* Bigger news is that Desert Pines running back Michael Ball (5-9, 210), one of the top three junior prospects in Las Vegas who gave Nevada a non-binding verbal commitment in February, attended practice with his mother and stayed around to chat with the coaches. Don't count that one over until the letter is signed.

* Junior college cornerback Geoffrey Howard once again was very impressive in pass coverage in drills and figures to help soften the loss of Eric Wright and John Guice.

* Cheyenne High product Perry Eppenger, recently moved from defensive tackle to the offensive line, looked like a natural at right guard and figures to be an impact performer there before he's done if he continues to work hard and keep his positive attitude.

* Ryan Wolfe, the conference freshman of the year in 2006, has been exceptional in the drills and scrimmage action I've watched. * I don't think I've seen senior wideout Aaron Straiten drop a pass yet.

* The man ahead of Straiten on the depth-chart at X, Justin Marvel, had the catch of the day during a Rebel Pride (goal-line) drill when he grabbed a perfectly thrown pass over Howard. Unfortunately for Marvel, he caught it on the line.

* Bonanza High product Ben Jaekle appears to have a much stronger leg on kickoffs this year.

* Sophomore center Joe Hawley, a future all-MWC pick, got in a couple of minor scraps during drills. Got to love his toughness.

* Kyle Watson, a sophomore transfer from Texas Southern who attended Alta Loma HS, was impressive in place-kicking drills and along with Jaekle gives the Rebels two solid kickers behind Sergio Aguayo.

* The offense seems to be running a lot smoother this year. Credit some of that to new OC Todd Berry. However, quarterback Travis Dixon also deserves some of the kudos. He may not have the strongest of arms but he is deceptively quick on the option and seems to always end up with positive yardage when he runs.

* Friday's practice goes from 4 to 6 p.m. with a 60 play scrimmage expected to start around 4:40. It is open to the public.


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