Ely Report: New nickname needed for Summers?

ELY – With all the focus seemingly on new starting quarterback Omar Clayton and the stellar play of freshman wide receiver Phillip Payne of Western High, senior running back Frank Summers has kind of slid under the radar a little so far in UNLV's fall camp.

Under the radar as much as someone nicknamed "The Tank" can do. But Summers, who has dropped 10 pounds and almost eight percent of his body fat since a 928-yard campaign in 2007, may need a new nickname these days.

Old "Frank The Tank" still is powerful enough to run over opposing defenders. However, the slimmer Summers has also exhibited much better moves, quickness and speed around the edge this fall.

Frank The Tank is more like Frank The Escalade.

"All the guys are telling me I look faster," Summers said. "Me and Wiz (safety Wiselet Rouzard) were just talking about it. He said, ‘Man, you have another burst in you that's crazy!'"

Summers has had limited carries in scrimmage situations here. After all, head coach Mike Sanford knows what he has in the 5-10, 230-pounder from Oakland. But most of those carries usually find him sprinting into the end zone as opposing defenders try to catch him from behind.

That's a far cry from a year ago when Summers usually ran over a defender or two on his way to the end zone.

"That was my whole thing this summer," Summers said. "I worked on my burst. That's my big thing this year. I watch runners like Adrian Peterson (of the Vikings) and some of the other big-time running backs in the pros and college and they take it the distance and hit a home run. "One of the things last year is I was getting some long runs but I wasn't finishing them. That's my goal this year … to finish runs. And the only way to do that is to get in the end zone." Under the eye of UNLV strength coach John Grieco, Summers spent a lot of time during summer conditioning working on improving his speed and lowering body fat. The result is a much more svelte "Tank" with body fat in the 10-percent range, about eight percent lower than a year ago.

"Coach Grieco is a big part of my being faster and lighter," Summers said. "I feel great and everybody keeps telling me I look good. I can feel the difference, too."

Summers didn't sacrifice any strength with the weight loss, either. He tied a team record for his weight class by bench pressing 225 pounds 27 times.

"I almost got the record," Summers said. "On the 28th rep I got it about half-way up but I just couldn't lock it out."

PRACTICE NOTES: The defense atoned for its poor showing in Monday's two practices by getting the upper-hand in most of the team's goal-line situational scrimmages on Tuesday.

Redshirt freshman corner Will Chandler, who has struggled badly trying to defend Payne on fade routes, deflected a pass away from Ryan Wolfe at the back of the end zone to give the first team defense the win over the first team offense in a 4th-and-goal drill. The first team defense also twice stopped the first team offense on two-point tries with tackles Jacob Hales and Malo Taumua both harassing Clayton for sacks.

The highlight of the day, however, came at the end when UNLV head coach Mike Sanford said he would cancel conditioning drills depending on how two offensive linemen and two defensive linemen did when it came to catching punts.

Sanford said he would cancel the drills if the linemen could combine to catch three of the four punts. Guard Joe Hawley went first and caught his ball, then celebrated by doing a flip into the end zone. Defensive end Preston Brooks followed with another grab. Center John Gianninoto, despite losing his shoe in the process, then touched off a wild celebration when he came up to catch the third punt.

Taumua and Summers wore the black jerseys for their excellent play in Monday's practices.

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