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#CampRebel: Dissecting The Defensive Line

Aug. 18, 2015

UNLV football resumed #CampRebel on Tuesday with a full-pads practice at Rebel Park. The team practiced for about two hours before breaking for lunch and spent the afternoon in team meetings.

The team may not have practiced on Monday, but they still spent time together. The Rebels spent the day resting before going to a show on the Las Vegas strip. UNLV was in attendance to see "V - The Ultimate Variety Show" inside the Miracle Mile Shops of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

When coming out of spring practices, the UNLV coaching staff was happy with some things from their defensive line, but there were some question marks heading into fall camp.

One of the things they were happy about was the senior leadership on the D-Line, especially with three-year letter winner Sonny Sanitoa (6-3, 270, SR-3L, Samoana HS).

"The thing about Sonny is that he works and works every single day," head coach Tony Sanchez said. "In this game we are always in meetings and watching film and he sets a great example of how to work consistently on a daily basis. Everyone aspires to be that and Sonny just leads by example."

Sanitoa leads a group of three seniors on the defensive front, which includes Tuli Fakauho (6-1, 330, SR-1L, Coffeyville CC) and Efrem Clark (6-2, 260, SR-1L, Trinity Valley CC).

The staff was also happy with some of the experience that the Rebels return. Mike Hughes Jr. (6-2, 310, SO-1L, Palo Verde HS) and Dominic Baldwin (6-5, 265, JR-2L, Ernest Righetti HS) each saw time during the 2014 season, which will be valuable for the team in 2015.

"The guys are the defensive line are continually improving, especially the guys that we had in the spring," head coach Tony Sanchez said. "But now we are starting to see the depth."

A trio of linemen who have been through at least one semester with UNLV include Mark Finau (6-3, 230, SO-TR, LA Valley College), Joseph Salazar (6-4, 255, FR-RS, Atascocita HS) and Tui Maloata (6-3, 260, JR-TR, Mt. SAC). The newcomers who have added depth to the defensive front include Nick Dehdashtian (6-1, 290, FR-HS, Midwestern Prep), Jason Fao (6-0, 300, SO-TR, Long Beach City College) and Salanoa-Alo Wily (6-0, 285, FR-HS, Kahuku HS).

"Adding those bodies has made a big difference," Sanchez said. "It makes everyone better players because the are able to stay fresh."

Gabe McCoy (6-1, 200, FR-HS, Pittsburg HS) and Jeremiah Valoaga (6-6, 260, JR-2L, Channel Islands HS), when healthy, will add depth at defensive ends.

"When Jeremiah Valoaga comes back he will add depth and Gabe might be a little undersized right now, but in certain situations he really causes problems," Sanchez said.

Overall the theme on the D-Line is having more players that can be productive and are able to rotate in and out depending on each situation.

"We have more people to work with so schematically we can do different things," Sanchez said.

CAMP REBEL TEMPO SYSTEM SONG OF THE DAY:"Give It All" by Rise Against. Release date: April 2004

UNLV will hold one half-pads practice on Wednesday starting at 8 a.m. at Rebel Park. It is open to the public.

Individual tickets for all six of UNLV's 2015 home football games went on sale today, while season tickets and mini-plan tickets for the Rebels are also still available.

Advance prices start at just $50 on the Sidelines, $30 in the End Zone and $20 in the Value End Zone for the three premium games of UCLA, Boise State and Hawai'i. For the remaining games of San Diego State, San Jose State and Idaho State, prices start at $35 on the Sidelines, $20 in the End Zone and just $14 for the Value End Zone. Additional fees may apply and all prices increase by $5 per ticket on the day of game.

Season tickets for 2015 start at $230 on the Sidelines and $130 in the End Zone. A limited number of Value End Zone Season Tickets are available in the North end of Sam Boyd Stadium for just $99. There is also a special three-game mini-plan still available.

Log on to or call (702) 739-FANS (3267) to buy yours today or for more information regarding ticket offers and group pricing. For more information on Rebel football, visit



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