Scrimmage full of hard knocks

UNLV's first full scale scrimmage of spring practice on Friday was a very physical one, especially for the three quarterbacks vying for the backup spot to injured Rocky Hinds. All three – senior Jarrod Jackson, redshirt freshman Travis Dixon and junior Dack Ishii – had to leave the scrimmage at times with injuries. Here's the latest on their injuries.

The good news is that Jackson, who watched the final half of the scrimmage with his left arm in a sling after getting sandwiched on an option by linebacker Vaovasa Kuresa and defensive end Isaako Aaitui, did NOT break his collarbone as was initially feared.

Jackson had X-rays Friday night which were negative. Trainer Kyle Wilson said Saturday morning that Jackson is day-to-day but seemed much improved on Saturday.

Dixon, the star of the scrimmage, went to the sidelines briefly after screaming in pain following a sideline tackle by linebacker Michael Lynch who appeared to come down on his ankle. However, Dixon returned a few plays later and had the play of the day – a nifty 20-yard touchdown scramble away from two first team defenders who seemingly had him surrounded in the backfield for a sack.

Dixon also had a 36-yard option run against the first team defense. That two-play drive which began at the 50 was capped by a 14-yard touchdown run by Frank "The Tank" Summers.

Wilson said Dixon has been playing with a hip pointer which was aggravated on the tackle by Lynch. However, both of his highlight reel runs came after the injury, an impressive indication of the toughness of the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from Hamilton High in Chandler, Ariz.

Ishii, who threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to senior Aaron Straiten, also went to the sidelines for a while after getting hammered by linebacker Beau Bell and safety Starr Fuimaono on a run.

Wilson said Ishii had a bruised knee and also is day-to-day.

Two other injuries from the scrimmage were to starting wide receiver Justin Marvel (sprained shoulder, X-rays negative) and defensive tackle Tim High (ankle sprain).

UNLV coach Mike Sanford said he felt it is important to have his quarterbacks "live" in scrimmages this year despite the risk of injury.

"When the quarterbacks aren't live, I think the defense gets a false sense when the play is blown dead," Sanford said.

Dixon's touchdown run would have likely have been whistled dead before he escaped the two defenders.

Sanford said it is also important for his quarterbacks to also learn how to play under live conditions.

"Because in this offense you've got to be able to run the option," Sanford said. "Obviously there is some (injury) concern but I think the positive benefits that comes with having the quarterbacks live outweigh the negatives."

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Although the offense had plenty of reason to celebrate after the scrimmage, Sanford had the entire team doing push-ups afterward.

The reason? Both Straiten, who took his helmet off to celebrate his touchdown grab, and Dixon, who pointed his finger after his touchdown run, would have likely been flagged with 15-yard excessive celebration penalties in game conditions.

Sanford felt it was important to send a message to his two offensive stars that such maneuvers during a real game would cost the Rebels dearly on the ensuing kickoff.


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