Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment of a weekly feature in which the Las Vegas Review-Journal asks 20 questions of a member of the UNLV football team.
Today’s Q&A is with linebacker Starr Fuimaono, who returns this weekend to the scene of his season-ending shoulder injury two years ago. UNLV visits Wyoming at noon PST Saturday.
1. Is it difficult to go back to Wyoming knowing what happened two years ago?
I can’t really think about it because … it’s going to bring back flashbacks.
2. How tough was it hurting your knee early the next season at Utah and having to sit out the rest of that year?
It was real tough, because I had prepared, first getting my shoulder back from rehabbing it. I was excited about the season, especially after the first game — Utah State. And then getting injured that next game, I felt like I threw everything away not being able to help the team anymore.
3. How do you fight the feeling it won’t happen again?
The more I think about it, the slower I play, and that causes more injury to happen. So I try not to think about it.
4. What’s more difficult, coming back physically or mentally?
I think mentally, because physically, that was never a problem for me. I’m willing to throw my body at anything for the team. So mentally, really, just fighting through the pain and everything I go through (in rehabilitation) after games and practices.
5. You’ve thrown your body around a lot this season. How have you been able to do that?
I do treatment every day of the week — up until game time, and I’m in there in between class, after class, after practice. Just really trying to take care of my body and (being) smart out on the practice field, not doing too much.
6. What it’s like leveling someone?
Greatest feeling in the world. I didn’t realize I flipped a guy (against Oregon State), but after I saw it on (the video board), it looked pretty cool.
7. Coach Mike Sanford said you and Jason Beauchamp are UNLV’s best tacklers. Why are you such good tacklers?
I think we’re two guys hungry for the ball. We both knew each other since high school (in the San Diego area), so we’ve seen each other play. We’re always competing against each other. We’re always talking, "I’ll get to the ball before you." It makes a friendly rivalry in the team, and I think it makes us both better.
8. How did you get into cutting your teammates’ hair?
Back in high school, me and one of my good friends (Julian Padilla) used to cut each other up. When I left for college, he went to barber school. So every time I went back home for breaks, I’d go see him, and he’d teach me things he learned in barber school.
9. Is that what you want to do?
No, I just took it as a hobby. It’s something I used to do in high school, and it’s something I brought with me to college. Why not help out teammates? Everybody’s on a budget.
10. Do they pay you?
Everybody offers me, but I don’t charge anybody.
11. How many teammates let you cut their hair?
Probably 20 to 25.
12. How did it start?
I used to cut my own hair, and they’d always ask me, "Who cut your hair?" They never believed I could cut the back, too. After I cut one teammate’s hair, I think it was Quinton Pointer’s hair, everybody asked him who cut it. He said my name, and then everybody came asking.
13. Whose hair is the hardest to cut?
Renan (Saint Preux). His hair is real patchy. I think it might’ve broken some of the teeth to my clippers.
14. Do you see someone’s hair on the team you don’t want to go near?
Probably Preston Brooks. He doesn’t use shampoo … at least I don’t think he does.
15. Why did you switch from No. 14 to No. 24?
Twenty-four is a number I had all through high school, Pop Warner. When I got here, somebody already had it, and I didn’t want to go through the trouble of (getting) the number. I’m very superstitious, so 14 has given me bad luck, and so far 24 is working for me.
16. Do you have any game-day superstitions?
I tell (graduate student trainer) Krista (Bayers) I’m going to be the second one to be taped every time. She did my rehab, so I’ve got to be stretched by her.
17. How important was it to follow your brother, Howie, to UNLV?
He asked me, if I had no interest in other schools, if I could come here and play with him his last year, and I wanted to make that wish come true for him.
18. You had some pretty big schools on you, so was it hard to turn them down?
Not really, because I pretty much felt comfortable here when I came on a recruiting trip. (Howie) was my host, and he pretty much showed me everything and introduced me to a lot of people, so before I came here, I already knew people.
19. What’s on your iPod?
Mostly rap music. I’m a West Coast guy, so I like Tupac (Shakur).
20. Do you have a favorite sport other than football?
I like to play basketball for fun. I just mess around while I’m doing it. I like to talk mess to people.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Read the latest UNLV football updates at lvrj.com/blogs/unlv_sports.INJURIES MOUNTING IN DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD
UNLV is banged up at safety, with Marquel Martin suffering a possible concussion and Alex De Giacomo battling a hamstring injury. Martin might not play in Saturday’s noon PST game at Wyoming, and a better determination will be made on De Giacomo later this week.
Wide receiver Rodelin Anthony (concussion) remains "very doubtful," coach Mike Sanford said.
Also, quarterback Omar Clayton was named Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week. He had career highs of 340 yards and 28 completions, throwing the game-winning touchdown pass with 36 seconds left to beat Hawaii, 34-33.
MARK ANDERSON / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL