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Eppenger is sent home

ELY — UNLV junior defensive tackle Perry Eppenger entered training camp in shape and supposedly with a new commitment to football.

Now he’s back in Las Vegas, sent home early.

Eppenger, a Cheyenne High School product, was disciplined for breaking unspecified team rules.

Coach Mike Sanford said Sunday he will revisit the situation with Eppenger after the Rebels return to Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon.

Eppenger was in a battle with junior Martin Tevaseu for the No. 2 job behind senior Jacob Hales. Sanford said Tevaseu probably will get the spot.

"(The punishment) was completely separate from the competition," Sanford said. "It was more of a team policy/attitude type issue."

• PEEPLES FINALLY BACK — It’s been a long wait, but tailback David Peeples finally returned to practice.

He had been out because of a right foot injury, but returned to take part in the first of a five-day NCAA-mandated acclimation period.

"It’s just a hard summer getting through everything, preparing myself for my senior season," Peeples said. "It feels great to be out here with the rest of my family."

He is determined to be a major factor this season, but has much ground to make up.

While sidelined, he watched sophomore Channing Trotter and incoming freshmen C.J. Cox and Imari Thompson battle for the backup spot to senior Frank Summers.

So Peeples starts further back than he would like, but he isn’t discouraged.

"I have to wait my turn, but I know the playbook in and out, and that will help me out a lot," he said.

• COACH HURT — Defensive line coach Andre Patterson has needed a golf cart to get around the field, and he wears a brace on his right knee.

He probably needs replacement surgery for the knee, which has been bone-on-bone for at least 15 years. Patterson said he has had five surgeries on the knee.

Though the pain is intense, he said he will hold off on surgery until after the season.

"I’m going to make it through the season," Patterson said. "There’s no doubt about that. If I’ve got to crawl out here on my arms, I’m going to make it through the season."

• BACK TO SCHOOL — Junior backup linebacker Jimmy Miller still hasn’t regained his academic eligibility. If he does, he will rejoin the team immediately.

Walk-on sophomore tailback D’Angelo Jones also had to satisfy academic requirements. The Foothill High product is expected to join the team when school starts Aug. 25 and probably would redshirt.

• INJURED — Sophomore starting defensive end Isaako Aaitui bruised his left quadriceps late in practice. His status is unknown.

• JUMP RIGHT IN — Sanford said freshman linebacker David Blair will not redshirt and will see action this season. Scout.com ranked him the nation’s No. 16 middle linebacker in this past recruiting class.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.

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