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UNLV football wraps up spring with plenty of lingering questions remaining

Caleb Herring, Sean Reilly will take quarterback competition into the fall

UNLV Spring Scrimmage

Offensive lineman Jason Heath attempts a pretend tackle on Demil Harris during UNLV's annual spring intrasquad football game Saturday, April 2, 2011. Launch slideshow »

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."

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  1. This doesnt sound good. Youngest team in football!! That doesnt bode well. We were incredibly weak on defense last two years...when for years our def was good but no offense.........Better get some JC transfers here.

  2. Another 2 win season with a lot of injuries along the way. Not only are the Rebs young but they are small & thin. I like coach Hauck a lot but it's gonna be another long year. My guess is JC transfers next year. I think he's tying to get 1-2 yrs experience with his recruiting classes then surround them with JC transfers, thats my guess. Rebs give it your best shot.

  3. I hope that the annual spring scrimmage moves back to Sanm Boyd next year. The atmosphere in the stands is much more festive and participatory. You can enjoy the playmaking much better than you do on the sidelines at Rebel Park looking over shoulders of people in front of you. Standing in place is not fun for two hours. Porta-poties not enjoyble and not close. The picnic outside the stadium is a big treat. I miss that. Last year, it was done by Memphis BBQ and it was very fun.

  4. They signed some JC players this year, I just dont know how much impact they will make. The Rebs really need to get bigger & tougher on both lines. If they cannot run the ball & protect either Herring or Reilly its a wrap. On defense they have to stop the run once in a while & get decent pressure on opposing QB's to even stand a chance. You can't let the QB have 5-6 seconds to pick his spots every passing down, not even D. Rivas can cover a receiver that long. I'm hoping for the best and a team that will play with heart.

  5. These kids need to live in the weight room for the next four months

  6. Four months is a long time to gain more strength and fitness. One can not do anything about youth except to nurture it and hope that it grows. But the most distressing thing that I read in this article is that Hauck says "eventually" to being a good team. He is in year 2 of a 4 year countdown in my eyes so he better step it up. I'm expecting 4-5 wins this year (one of those wins being at unr) and anything less is a failure in my opinion; young team or not.

  7. It's a good thing that we are young, that is how you establish a program in the mold of the coach. Hauck is very particular about his teams identity, and the only way to create that culuture is with young players.