Sunday, April 3, 2011 | 9 p.m.
As expected, UNLV's spring football season came and went without most of the lingering questions being answered.
But Saturday's showcase at Rebel Park may have at least helped create a bit of fanfare.
The annual spring wrap-up scrimmage was moved to the UNLV campus and away from Sam Boyd Stadium, and it coincided with an apparel sale put on by the athletic department, bringing in a bit of added revenue.
The turnout was strong, but if the Rebels want to bring back the bulk of those fans plus some, they'll have to build off of what second-year coach Bobby Hauck called a solid spring camp when fall ball begins.
"The attitude and effort was almost 100 percent," he said. "We had one day where it wasn't good enough, but 14 of 15 isn't bad. I thought we improved. We're awfully young, we look young and that's going to cause us some fits at times, but it was good."
The scrimmage didn't take on a typical game structure, but all eyes, as per usual, were on the quarterbacks, as Hauck will again have a competition for the starting job.
Sophomore Caleb Herring went 7-of-13 for 65 yards during team drills on Saturday, while junior newcomer Sean Reilly was 8-of-12 for 73 yards and a TD pass, which came against the team's No. 1 defensive unit.
"At quarterback, Caleb's ahead right now, but that should be expected, as he's had a year in the system," Hauck said. "We'll certainly give both guys a chance to compete for it in fall camp and we'll see where it goes."
Those two will also have competition going on right behind them at the running back spot, which Hauck showed in 2010 is beyond vital in his balanced offensive system.
He said that, ideally, he'd like to go three deep in the backfield, and the top three guys in contention for the bulk of the carries right now are sophomore Bradley Randle, sophomore Tim Cornett and freshman Dionza Bradford.
Cornett was UNLV's leading rusher as a true frosh, racking up 546 yards on 144 carries. Randle had 110 yards on 25 totes in an injury-marred redshirt freshman campaign, while Bradford, who grayshirted last season, showed on Saturday a little bit of what made him such a big recruit for the program a year ago. Also in the mix will be converted defensive back Deante' Purvis.
But, of course, the key to it all will be how UNLV performs up front.
UNLV will again be young, but plenty of that youth will be up front, and it'll be tough to get a good read on the unit until the fall, when the full complement of guys are both present and healthy.
The same can be said for the defense as a whole.
The final spring roster included 49 freshmen and sophomores, who will need to mature in a hurry by the time the team reconvenes towards the end of the summer.
"We don't have a big junior or senior class right now," Hauck said. "We'll be the youngest team in college football next year. I can't imagine anyone being more youthful.
"Youth is going to be served here. We just need to improve. If we can continue to get better, we've got a chance to be a good football team eventually."