Wednesday, April 21, 2021 | 2 a.m.
UNLV football hit the practice field on Tuesday for its first session since Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage, and the vibe was a bit different than the first two weeks of spring practice.
With the scrimmage providing plenty of game tape and the coaching staff having two full days to pore over each and every rep, the proceedings took on a more pointed tone.
Head coach Marcus Arroyo, for one, was happy to have some more specific coaching points to dispense to his players.
“It was an awesome opportunity to get a ton of situations,” Arroyo said of the scrimmage. “We got a lot of unscripted plays, unscripted situations that I think you find out a lot about the groups. And us as coaches get to step back and find out exactly where we are.”
UNLV has five more spring practices remaining, including a finale on May 1 that will include another full scrimmage.
All eyes remain on the quarterback competition playing out between junior Justin Rogers, sophomore Doug Brumfield and freshman Cameron Friel. None was perfect in the scrimmage, according to Arroyo, but all showed positive signs of having grasped the playbook to some extent.
Arroyo said the two returning veterans, Rogers and Brumfield, have grown within the offense since the conclusion of the 2020 season.
“Both doing a nice job,” Arroyo said. “I don’t think anyone has truly, truly separated themselves in that regard. I think there’s some plays there we missed, some really good plays we made. I think they’re both working through their growth in the system. We’ve got a good chunk of the offense in, so I’m excited to see those guys finish here throughout the last five practices.”
Brumfield, a 6-foot-5 lefty, got into two games as a true freshman last year and is still feeling his way through his first spring football experience, but he was encouraged by what he saw on Saturday.
“I feel like the scrimmage was a big improvement for the offense,” Brumfield said. “Reads, progressions, blocking schemes, routes, everything, I felt like we were all on the same page at the scrimmage.”
Brumfield completed 9-of-21 passes for 151 yards, with no passing touchdowns and one rushing TD. He said one area where he has progressed has been in reading defenses, with more reps leading him to make better and quicker decisions in the pocket.
“I feel a lot more confident reading coverages,” Brumfield said. “Physical reps, film, the more you see it the more comfortable you get with it.
“This year is a lot more clear now that you have read keys,” he continued. “A big key for most quarterbacks is probably the safety. You read the safeties and most of the time they tell you what their job is. Based off one safety you can read almost the whole defense. That makes you a lot more comfortable out there to know what the defense is most likely running.”
Media members have not been allowed to view any spring practices, so all accounts of the on-field action have to come secondhand from the players and coaches. Most assessments have been consistent to this point, however: Imperfect play, but an encouraging attitude and tangible signs of progress.
Senior offensive lineman Julio Garcia said the team’s execution wasn’t flawless on Saturday, but that the energy was good and the team is hoping to carry that through the rest of the spring.
“The main thing I saw is that everyone is competing,” Garcia said. “At the end of the day, that’s the main thing, because mistakes are going to happen because it’s the first scrimmage and everything is live. But the most important thing I saw was everyone was competing and everyone was flying around.”