rebels football:

UNLV quarterback Nick Sherry more confident with year of experience

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Steve Marcus

Quarterback Nick Sherry passes during practice at Rebel Park at UNLV Monday, March 4, 2013.

UNLV Football Practice: 3/4/13

Quarterback Nick Sherry, center, exercises with the team during practice at Rebel Park at UNLV Monday, March 4, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Rebels football 2013

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Nick Sherry is a different quarterback this spring.

With one year of experience under his belt, the UNLV sophomore signal caller is more confident leading the Rebels offense and ready to build on what was a solid rookie campaign in 2012.

Sherry and the Rebels opened spring practice Monday at Rebel Park in the first of 15 workouts. In comparison to last year, when he was a redshirt freshman full of talent and in a battle to win the starter’s job, Sherry has a different comfort level this spring.

“I’m a little more mature and better in decision-making,” Sherry said. “I’m still learning. We still have a lot more practice to learn and get better, and get the team going. But the year of experience definitely helps.

“Being in the games definitely helps. I can simulate what will happen in the games. It will help me progress and get better this spring.”

Sherry passed for 2,544 yards and 16 touchdowns last fall, ranking second all-time in Mountain West Conference history for freshman passing yards.

Those numbers, however, don’t tell the entire story. While Sherry’s freshman season was deemed a success, he realizes it could have been much better.

Entering the Colorado State game, which was the third-to-last contest of the season, Sherry needed just 373 yards to break the league’s all-time freshman passing record.

But the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Sherry only had 254 passing yards in his final two games, suffering an injury in an ugly 33-11 loss at Colorado State when he passed for just 88 yards. After missing the Wyoming game the following week, Sherry returned for the finale against Hawaii but completed just 17 of 43 passes for 166 yards with three interceptions.

He combined for seven interceptions in his final three starts, finishing the year with 17 interceptions — one more than touchdown passes.

So, yes, there is much to work on this spring.

“I got in my own head and it was downhill from there,” Sherry said. “I need to be better. I need to be more reliable and make better decisions.”

Sherry hasn’t been alone this offseason in working to improve the UNLV offense.

New offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach, who in previous coaching stops has coordinated offenses that have ranked near the top nationally in yardage and points scored, is upgrading a Rebels offense that scored just 43 points in its final three games.

It’s too early to tell how Rosenbach’s offense will differ from last year, but several of the formations and terminology will remain the same, helping Sherry continue his development.

“Our offense will be more experienced and we should be able to move the ball better,” Sherry said.

Sherry showed last year he has the arm strength to make several throws — everything from the long ball down field to a short pass in traffic. He attempted a little of everything Monday.

The first day of spring was just that — a first day when all players were continuing to get back into shape. Sherry looked great on a few passes and bad on a few others. He made some nice completions but also threw a couple interceptions and had receivers drop some passes.

“In general we looked rusty, and he is no exception,” UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said. “It was the first day of practice, and to get out there with the defense and play at full speed, he has some catching up to do. But compared to his first week last fall, he is much further along.”

Former Rebels attend practice:

Harvey Hyde, who in 1984 coached UNLV to an 11-2 record and the California Bowl title, attended Monday’s first day of spring practice.

Al Tanara, an assistant from 1982-85 and the offensive line coach on the California Bowl championship team, also attended.

Former offensive linemen Keith Kohorst (1981-82) and Ron Scoggins Sr. (1983-85) were on hand to watch their sons — senior kicker Nolan Kohorst and sophomore lineman Ron Scoggins Jr.

Also attending were Quinton Pointer, who just finished his rookie season in the secondary with the St. Louis Rams, and running back Frank "The Tank" Summers.

Pointer played in six games with the Rams in 2012, and Summers is hoping to catch on with an NFL team after being hurt last year in the San Diego Chargers camp. Summers was a fifth-round selection by Pittsburgh in 2009.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. Go Rebs!

  2. Good Luck UNLV IN 2013Hoping u win at least 6 games and a bowl bid....Hay a guy can dream cant he lams....shalom