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UNLV football speeding up learning process as camp begins

After the first day of UNLV football preseason practice, sophomore quarterback Harrison Bailey admitted he was a bit “shaky” and made a few mistakes. But that was to be expected as the Rebels began to prepare for their Aug. 27 season opener against Idaho State.

As Marcus Arroyo enters his third season as coach of the Rebels, he is looking to make the most of every teaching opportunity during camp to elevate the on-field performance of the program.

“We have to find new things to coach and we’re getting a chance to do that now that they’ve heard us before,” Arroyo said. “Now we can really start to take off.”

After not experiencing a normal preseason camp in his first season, Arroyo said building off of last year’s camp has allowed his staff to speed up the teaching process and raise the standards.

“We haven’t been together that long, but guys are starting to understand what is expected in training camp,” Arroyo said. “It’s a big deal.”

The Rebels, who finished 2-10 last season, have more than 100 players on their preseason camp roster. Arroyo said they are three players deep at most positions and credits that as a reason his staff is able to operate at a faster pace at practice.

After this past spring’s practices, players spent the summer participating and running player-led practices. Bailey’s focus during the summer workouts was to build chemistry with his new teammates. A highly touted transfer from Tennessee, he believes growing that relationship can help him compete for the starting quarterback spot.

“When the quarterback speaks, everybody listens,” he said. “Being that vocal leader can take this team to the next level. That’s one of the things I’ve been working on.”

Junior Doug Brumfield and sophomore Cameron Friel are in competition with Bailey for the starting spot.

Brumfield, who started as a true freshman in 2020, said everyone has noticed the improvements the team has made from spring through the summer. With 32 additions to the roster, Brumfield said the summer helped the new players to get acclimated to the program.

He believes he is more mature than when he entered the program and that can allow Arroyo to be more direct with the quarterbacks.

“We know what we want to do as an offense,” Brumfield said. “We know the type of intent we need to have to get things done and the steps we have to take.”

Friel, the 2021 Mountain West Offensive Freshman of the Year, missed time late last season and in the spring with a foot injury. After starting as a true freshman last season, Friel said he is more comfortable entering camp with what he learned last season.

”I had to rush to grow and mature quicker than the average young guy stepping out there,” Friel said. “The game is definitely slowing down a lot.”

Arroyo does not have a timetable as to when he will name a starter at quarterback. As the battle plays out, Arroyo said the expectations for them and the other position groups will only grow higher.

“The quarterbacks are coached pretty tough, but I want to see that we’re able to coach them tougher than we were before,” Arroyo said.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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