Aug. 21, 2006
UNLV head coach Mike Sanford announced late Monday that sophomore quarterback and former USC transfer Rocky Hinds has won the starting job for the Rebels, who open their season on Sept. 2 vs. Idaho State.
Hinds and senior Shane Steichen were both competing for the No. 1 spot. After an evaluation process that started last spring and continued into preseason camp, Sanford made his decision.
"It is something that has been brewing and we wanted to make it complete and fair. I didn't have a timetable, but we were at the point where we needed to make that decision," Sanford said. "I have tremendous respect for Shane and we have two good quarterbacks, but the best thing for this program is for Rocky to be the quarterback."
Hinds, a highly touted recruit for the Trojans in 2004, transferred to UNLV and sat out the 2005 season per NCAA guidelines. He will be playing in his first collegiate game when the Rebels host the Bengals. Hinds was named the No. 1 transfer in the country by College Football News and was tabbed the Preseason MWC Offensive Newcomer of the Year by the Sporting News.
"It feels really good right now. I wasn't really thinking about it much. I just went out there every day and competed hard," Hinds said. "I am sure I will be a little nervous (for his first game) but I will work through it. Shane has a lot of experience and when I come to the sidelines, I am going to listen to what he says."
Steichen started the Rebels' first four games last season before fracturing a finger on his non-throwing hand during the first series of the Utah State game. He missed the next six before starting the season finale at home against Colorado State. He finished the season with 967 yards passing and eight touchdown passes, and he was second on the team with 324 net rushing yards. Overall the El Dorado Hills, Calif., native has started 12 games in his Rebel career.
"I am going to prepare every week as if I am the starter and I am going to be ready to play," Steichen said. "Rocky is a great guy and I will be there for him on the sidelines, be like a coach to him."
POSITION UPDATE: LINEBACKER
Play-making linebacker Beau Bell and returning starter Matt Pattison have given Rebel linebackers coach Tony Dews two veterans to build around in fall camp. Bell is the MWC's leading returning tackler after he registered 92 last season, including 3.5 sacks while Pattison 54 tackles in seven games before suffering a foot injury that caused him to miss four contests.
"It is a pretty close-knit group of guys with no egos and they all like each other. Beau Bell and Matt Pattison have done a great job with the young guys," Dews said. "KC Asiodu and Jason Beauchamp have had strong camps and are improving as well."
After that pair, sophomore KC Asiodu and redshirt freshman Jason Beauchamp have emerged as two other linebackers who figure to get a lot of playing time for UNLV. Adrian Bradley, Bradley Niles, Omega Faga and Matt Seccombe are other Rebels who are competing for time on the field.
REBEL CAMP NOTES:
There were four Rebels who graded out as champions following Saturday's scrimmage, UNLV head coach Mike Sanford said on Monday. On offense quarterback Rocky Hinds and wide receiver Casey Flair were named champions while Beau Bell and John Guice earned the kudos on defense. Following a game or scrimmage, Rebel coaches look at film and grade the play of each athlete based on things such as performance, how they were challenged and if they made big plays.
UNLV head coach Mike Sanford announced Monday that Rocky Hinds will be UNLV's starting quarterback.