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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

20 questions with UNLV defensive end Malo Taumua

1. How fired up are you to play Hawaii?

I'm real fired up. The last two times we played them, we lost to them. Now they have a completely different team, so I'm really excited to play them. I'm always excited to play people from back home.

2. You suffered a season-ending knee injury the first time you played them, so do you have bitter memories?

Going home and losing to them and coming to our house and losing to them, it's real bitter.

3. Do you have any friends on Hawaii's team?

My two friends I graduated with, Rocky (Savaiigaea) and R.J. (Kiesel-Kauhane), they're team captains.

4. Do you consider Las Vegas the ninth island?

Oh yeah. I go downtown and I see a lot of local people. There's a place where you can buy local food there.

5. What's your favorite Hawaiian food?

It's got to be ... Korean short ribs.

6. What place must you go to if you're a local in Hawaii that you don't want tourists to find out about?

I'd say Zippy's Restaurant. That's real big back home. If they had a Zippy's here, that'd sell out. It's a mixture of Hawaiian and Asian food. It's like a fast-food place, but not like cheeseburger and fries.

7. What's your favorite Las Vegas hangout?

Probably on campus with some of my friends.

8. Las Vegas or Hawaii?

Las Vegas. I lived in Hawaii for 18 years. If you're on a small rock, you get sick of it. I feel claustrophobic there because you can't go anywhere. Anywhere you go, you've got to fly. If you're in Vegas, you can drive wherever you want.

9. What's the best island?

I'll take Oahu, my island, because I like the city life.

10. How has the transition been from defensive tackle to end?

It's been real good. (Line) coach (Andre) Patterson always puts people in position to make plays. In the beginning of training camp, it was slow. But it clicks now. And I get to go and catch balls.

11. How did you get 20 yards downfield for the interception against Sacramento State?

It was a play where I had to cover the tight end. He made where he was blocking and then he started to spring downfield. So I went outside to hug him up. ... As I ran to chase the tight end, the ball came into my arms.

12. How long before you washed your right arm where you blocked the field goal at Arizona State last season?

The indentation and the bruise stayed there the whole night, and the next day it was almost gone already. I didn't even touch it when I was showering. I was washing around it.

13. What do you remember most from winning that night?

Right after I blocked the kick, everybody was slapping my head. I was trying to get air because I was tired because I was running around. I had a hard time catching my breath.

14. Quarterback Omar Clayton said you might be the most intense player on the team. Is that true?

I like to think so. I like what he said about me. I like to get fired up. I can't stop moving.

15. What's on your iPod?

This may sound weird, but I like to listen to slow music before the game. I'll get so wound up and so excited I'm not going to focus, so I have to listen to slow music to slow me down. So I'll listen to Brian McKnight and I'll listen to Jagged Edge -- "All Out of Love."

16. What TV show do you have to watch every week?

On Saturdays, you can usually watch some college football, but I watch SpongeBob. I want to take my mind off football. Coach (Mike) Sanford tells me, "Watch college football. Learn from their mistakes." I'll watch for a little bit, but when 11:30 (a.m.) hits, it's SpongeBob.

17. What video games do you like to play?

I like to play UFC. We play UFC in the hotel Friday night, and I dominate everyone. I lost to (linebacker) David Blair, but I beat (tailback) Channing (Trotter) and (wide receiver) Phillip (Payne). We played all through training camp, and I was 16-3 in training camp.

18. Are you on Facebook or Twitter?

On both. The Twitter thing, I just like to read what people say, but I'm on Facebook a lot.

19. What's your favorite NFL team?

The Redskins because my favorite player used to be LaVar Arrington. When he was with the Redskins, I was all over it.

20. What was your favorite college team while you were growing up?

Michigan. I don't know why. I just loved watching them, I guess, because they've got so many people in their stadium. And I, for some reason, I like blue and gold.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Read the latest UNLV football updates at lvrj.com/blogs/unlv_sports.

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