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UNLV quarterback battle continues as fall camp approaches

UNLV football coach Marcus Arroyo shed some light on the Rebels’ quarterback situation Wednesday at Mountain West media days at Mandalay Bay.

Not much, but some.

Arroyo, entering his third season at UNLV, said sophomores Doug Brumfield and Cameron Friel are listed as the starters simply because they have experience. They also were listed atop the depth chart after spring practice, with sophomore Harrison Bailey, a Tennessee transfer, the backup.

“It’s a lot of excitement watching those three compete and ball out,” junior wide receiver Kyle Williams said Thursday as media days concluded. “But I’ve never had a favorite going into it.”

The Rebels will begin fall camp July 30, the earliest start to a season in program history. They are coming off a 2-10 season.

Williams is excited to see who will be throwing him the ball this season and thinks the work they’ve put in during the spring and summer has helped the receivers and quarterbacks gel. He said any free time they have is spent out on the field building chemistry.

“Whoever can throw the ball and is willing to take over and be the best leader for our offense, that’s who I’m sticking with,” Williams said.

Brumfield was named the starter before last season, but a back injury ended his year early. Friel took over and was named Mountain West Offensive Freshman of the Year.

Arroyo also is excited to see true freshman Jayden Maiava, a former Liberty High standout, at fall camp. There’s also Bailey, who was impressive during spring football and has embraced the challenge, Arroyo said.

“We’ve got as competitive of a quarterback room as I’ve been around in a long time,” he said.

Embracing leadership roles

Williams wanted to clarify something before he answered the question. He never wants to be considered normal.

“Average summer workouts?” he said. “I don’t really do anything that’s average. No, I’m trying to be above average.”

He laughed, then answered the question about what a normal day looks like for a UNLV player during the summer — lifting weights, working out, studying the playbook and continuing to build chemistry.

Summer workouts require players to organize lifts and practices because coaches are often on the road recruiting, and NCAA rules limit their involvement. Williams and sixth-year linebacker Austin Ajiake, who also represented UNLV at media days, are part of the team’s leadership council and spent the summer trying to create a culture of accountability.

“It’s not the coaches feeding us, telling us what to do,” Ajiake said. “It’s some of the older guys understanding what the goals are and understanding what our standards are.”

Ajiake and Williams believe the steps in responsibility and leadership the team has taken will lead to more wins this season.

“The coaches aren’t on the field with us; we’re the ones doing it,” Ajiake said. “As important as coaches are, we also have to understand it has to come from the players, too.”

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.

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