Camp Notes: UNLV A Big Hit With Ely Businesses
Aug. 16, 2012
ELY, Nev. (UNLVRebels.com) - Continuing to enjoy the overcast weather and accompanying cooler conditions in Ely, the UNLV football team went through one practice Thursday afternoon that was heavy on special teams work. The Rebels then dined on barbecue ribs, chicken, slaw and green beans with a selection of cookies for dessert. Head Coach Bobby Hauck's charges will return to Broadbent Park in the morning for the first of two Friday practices. That will lead up to Saturday's big team scrimmage, which is open to the public and will begin at 3 p.m.
SCARLET & GRAY (& GREEN)
Now staging its seventh consecutive preseason camp in Ely, the UNLV football program is a big financial summer boon to this city of around 4,000 residents and birthplace of former First Lady of the United States, Pat Nixon.
The Rebel travel party helps fill rooms at multiple locations, uses large-scale catering each day and rents several facilities for a week-and-a-half each August. That doesn't even count the influx of parents, media and fans that make the four-hour drive north to see the Scarlet and Gray.
Ed Spear, who is the executive director of the Bristlecone Convention Center and Visitors Bureau where UNLV eats its most of its meals while in town, said the Rebels are their biggest customers in terms of consecutive days of use.
"Added up, UNLV being here makes approximately a $250,000 direct financial impact each year," Spear said. "When you consider all of the publicity that it gets us down in Las Vegas and all of these kids over the years telling their families about what we offer here, it can be worth upwards of a $2 million direct and indirect annual boost to Ely."
Spear said he is like a lot of residents that have come to adopt the Rebels as their own in an area that is traditionally UNR country.
"What I see is our community taking some ownership in the team. I'm not a sports fan but now I follow Rebel football and I think a lot of people in this city can say the same thing."
The Rebels had two visitors to Thursday afternoon's camp. An NFL scout from the San Diego Chargers came by to take a look while former UNLV tight end Austin Harrington was also on hand. Harrington, a Texas native who spent plenty of time here with the team, graduated last year after catching 15 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown as a senior.
RETURN ENGAGEMENT ON THE O-LINE
All five starters from a year ago return to the Rebel offensive line in 2012, and coming out of spring ball, two of the three starting seniors were anchors on the trenches.
However, with everyone back, the expectations are even higher for the group this fall.
"We are excited about our veterans, but with that comes a little added responsibility," said third-year offensive line coach Chad Germer. "I think that the two seniors have done a great job in not only being knowledgeable, but they have also taken a stronger leadership role."
"It's huge returning all five starters," Rodgers said. "But now there are no excuses. We have been there, seen everything and we have done it all. Our expectations are now much higher. We have had some young guys come along too and now the sky is the limit."
One of those young guys is 2011 Freshman All-American Brett Boyko, who credits his growth on the offensive line to both Rodgers and Zismann.
"I know I wouldn't be where I'm today without watching Yusef." Boyko said. "Seeing his footwork -- the little things that he does -- he was a huge help and was a guy I always talked to when I first came here. Doug has always been that guy -- the coach on the field. They have both been a great help to me."
Sophomores Cameron Jefferson and Robert Waterman are the other members of a crew that started the last seven games together. Earlier this year, Waterman was named to the Official Preseason Watch List for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded each year to the nation's top center.