Stevie G's spring practice report

Before heading off to the Rebel Park practice fields for the 11th of their 15 spring practices on Wednesday afternoon, Mike Sanford's squad got some important pointers from a special guest speaker during team meetings in the Lied Athletic Complex. "It was kind of like having a celebrity talk to you," freshman wide receiver Ryan Wolfe said.

"He got a standing ovation," Sanford said. "He had their eyes. He was really good."

So just who was this guest speaker that had the Rebel football team so mesmerized?

How about head basketball coach Lon Kruger.

"He talked about where they kind of where last September and October," Sanford said of the Runnin' Rebels, who were picked sixth in the Mountain West Conference preseason poll but instead won 30 games and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. "And also kind of where we are at right now. There are so many correlations."

Kruger, who was supposed to speak for five to 10 minutes, instead spent almost 25 minutes addressing the football team and also answering questions.

"It was tremendous," Sanford said. "We want to build upon the success of what the basketball team did this year."

Wolfe said one thing he learned from session was to play with more confidence next fall. The Rebels, who finished 2-10 last season, will likely be picked to finish at or near the bottom of the MWC again in most preseason polls.

"We need to carry a chip on our shoulders like the basketball team did," he said.

NOTES, QUOTES AND ANECDOTES ** Senior defensive tackle Faauo Faga is out for the rest of the spring after breaking a bone in right foot. He is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks.

Faga suffered the injury in Monday's practice shortly after apologizing to the team for punching teammate Tony Cade on the sidelines 10 days earlier following an emotional Rebel Pride practice drill. Cade, who suffered a fractured cheekbone as a result of the punch, also returned to practice on Monday and reportedly urged Rebel coaches to allow Faga to return to the team. …

** If there was an MVP award for the first 11 practices of the spring, sophomore linebacker Starr Fuimaono may very well have earned it. Other players who have enjoyed impressive springs so far include sophomore center Joe Hawley, running back Frank Summers, wide receiver Aaron Straiten and corners Geoff Howard and Quinton Pointer. …

** Three top prospects from Bishop Gorman attended Wednesday's practice along with outgoing Gaels head coach David White, who recently joined Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma. Running back Keola Antolin (5-8, 185), one of the area's top five prospects for the Class of 2008, corner Josh Jordan (5-9, 165) and Class of 2009 defensive line stud Justin Chaisson (6-4, 255) all watched practice. Antolin has already been offered by Iowa and Arizona. Jordan is looking at San Diego State and UNLV. Chaisson, who already has been offered by UNLV after performing well at the U.S. Army Combine in San Antonio in January, figures to be a national recruit in a year. …

** Senior quarterback Jarrod Jackson has practiced with a yellow jersey the last two workouts after suffering a bruise to his clavicle and sternum in last Friday's scrimmage. …

** Pointer, the explosive true freshman from Cape Coral, Fla., has two impressive interceptions during drills on Wednesday. …


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