Another QB moves to safety

ELY – One of the reasons Chris Jones decided to sign with UNLV last February was because the Rebels were going to allow the athletic Shadow Ridge product to get a shot at playing quarterback. But on their first day of practice at Broadbent Park here on Sunday night, Jones found himself lining up on the defensive side of the ball.

No complaints from the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Jones about the move. In fact, it was his idea.

"I wanted to go in and play quarterback but the experience the other quarterbacks have over what I have … it didn't look like my playing time would be that high," Jones said. "I asked the coaches what positions that we needed, and I asked about special teams because that is always important. They told me that I couldn't play special teams and also play quarterback. I was like, ‘Okay, what do we need on defense?'"

The Rebels lack depth at safety and recently moved another quarterback, part-time 2007 starter Travis Dixon, to that position. The move of Jones, a natural free safety prospect who played that position as well as some linebacker in high school, to safety was a no-brainer.

In fact, during Sunday night's drills Dixon and Jones lined up together at safety on the third team defense.

"I love it," Jones said of playing safety. "It's just that I like scoring a little bit better than hitting. So I liked offense better but I could always play defense. Football is football."

"It's something he wanted to do," UNLV coach Mike Sanford said of Jones' switch. "He has a great opportunity to compete to play at safety. He would have been a very good quarterback down the road, but at the quarterback position he would have redshirted (this season). He wants to play."

Sanford was asked was a permanent one.

"I think in football nothing is permanent," Sanford said with a smile. "I mean really, honestly. I don't mean that to be a smart answer. I would say right now we are doing it with the idea that is permanent but you just never know what is going to happen."

Jones wasn't the only Rebel to change positions on Sunday. Defensive end Luke Plante moved to tight end where his chances of seeing the field are expected to be improved.

"We'll see how that all unfolds," Sanford said. "I think we have a good group of tight ends now."

Some other practice highlights: * The second team offense, behind the outstanding passing of Mike Clausen, twice got the best of the first team defense in goal line situational scrimmaging from the five-year line. Clausen hooked up with freshman Philip Payne of Western on an alley-oop fade pass over corner Will Chandler for one score and drilled another scoring pass to wideout Gerold Rodriguez. Needless to say the first team defense wasn't too happy afterwards.

* The first team offense, led by quarterback Omar Clayton, easily scored on its two possessions against the second team defense with running backs Frank "The Tank" Summers and Channing Trotter scoring the touchdowns. Summers went in untouched while the 5-9, 190-pound Trotter put down his head and plowed over 235-poundd linebacker Rusty Worthen.

* Freshman tailback C.J. Cox left the field after suffering a right shoulder injury while diving to cover a loose ball. Sanford said the injury is now believed to be serious.

* Defensive lineman Preston Brooks (bruised ribs) spent the practice doing conditioning runs up a nearby hill.

* Corner Geoff Howard and wide receiver Ryan Wolfe both wore black jerseys for their standout play during Friday's practice at UNLV.


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