Rebels puttin' on the hits … in pads finally

Terry Tarver stopped by the Rebels' first full-contact practice Tuesday morning. Thankfully, there was a reprieve from the usually scorching temperatures this time of year. But that didn't stop things from getting a little heated out on the field. From UNLV coaches demanding high intensity to newcomers trying to make a statement, there was a lot going on. Read Terry's complete report here.

Here are some of the notes from today's practice:

**The Rebels are going to be fine at RB. In fact, with the impending return of 2006 starter David Peeples, depth at RB could be considered a strength this season. I have told you over and over how much I love Frank Summers as a football player (and that feeling gets reinforced every time I watch him run the ball) but I was very impressed by RB's Chris Brogdon and Channing Trotter Tuesday.

Brogdon runs really hard and low to the ground. I would also say it is safe to say he wants to fight for legit game-time carries this season. He is playing with a "don't be denied" attitude. Gotta love that from a big strong back. Trotter showed some very nice quickness and feel for the game also. I guess I kinda expected the off-season stuff to drag at him a bit but there was no indication of that. Good stuff for the Rebel running game.

**I really like University of Arizona transfer Gerold Rodriguez's game. He is tough, fast and smart in the Wolfe/Flair mold but is a little quicker in and out of his breaks because he is smaller. He brings some different skills to the table but will do all of the little things like the successful ones must. I look for G-Rod to supplant Straiten in the starting line-up if Aaron doesn't spend more time being fundamental and sudden. Wolfe/Flair/Butler/G-Rod/Anthony form one heck of a receiving core. Rodelin really seems to be catching the ball well which could be very scary for opposing defenses.

**This O-Line has the chance to be very good if they can play higher than their experience level. They are huge and seem to have an attitude. Joe Hawley, Richie Plunkett, Johan Asiata and Tim Goins all look very good. But the surprise of the day came when watching newcomer Sifa Moala in one-on-one drills. The 370-pounder has got the feet and technique of a man 280 pounds. This guy can flat out move and has a nice motor. If he can get his weight down just a bit he could solidify this line for a few years to come and give us a huge advantage in the short yardage game. I love this kid. Also, look out for RS-frosh Evan Marchal. He is a big and plays with a very nasty attitude. He will likely be an all-conference player before he is done at UNLV.

**Senior safety Tony Cade has been out of town for some family issues but Shane Horton has filled in nicely. This kid is a baller and will likely see very considerable time opposite Cade when Tony returns. Shane can really do it all and has the look of a big time safety who hits like a SS but has the range of a FS. I am very excited about our safeties this year.

** Our DL took a hit with the loss of Larry Dennis but the combo of Jacob Hales and Jeremy Geathers is downright nasty. Both players with get all-conference votes this season if they stay healthy. I also love the versatlity of many players on the DL. This will likely be our best group in quite a few years when Thor Pili and Luke Plante get back off of injuries.

**You guys are going to love WSU transfer Preston Brooks. He is big at 270 pounds but moves very well and has a good feel for the game. He will be very good for us in the 2008-2009 season.

**Didn't get to see a lot from our starting LB's as most were in class but MLB Bradley Niles has lost weight and looks much more athletic this season. He also had the hit off the day and Trotter today as he filled the hole and blew #32 up in a very dramatic way. He looks like the front-runner at MLB unless the staff shuffles some of the players around to get some better athletes on the field at the same time.

** Ronnie Paulo of Western High has all of the physical tools and reminds me of a young Beau Bell. Hopefully, the mental part of the game comes quick because he is gonna be very good.

** UNLV won't be very flashy at CB when Mil'Von James and Geoffrey Howard (these are the starters as of now) are on the field but they will be stout, fundamental and will hit you hard. Youngsters Quinton Pointer and Nehemiah Mundy provide enough flash for everybody, though. These two are young but they are fast and athletic.

Hope this helps you guys get a feel for the goings on at Rebel Park. Let's hope for a good, hard-nosed year from this group of Rebels. This staff/team is working hard to that end and I only hope that they can turn the corner with this group of players.


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