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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Maiavas may both start on Saturday

By BRAD SHERMAN, Sports Editor

Kaluka Maiava, a 2005 graduate of Baldwin High School, will reportedly start at linebacker for Southern California against Washington on Saturday, and his brother, Colorado offensive lineman Kai Maiava, is listed at No. 2 on the depth chart at both guard spots for the Buffaloes’ game against Oklahoma – but the 2007 Baldwin graduate says he has been told he will start.

The Los Angeles Daily News has reported that sources have said USC linebacker Brian Cushing could be sidelined for nearly a month because of a sprained ankle.

According to the newspaper, Keith Rivers has moved from weak-side to Trojans coach Pete Carroll said Cushing was unlikely to play against the Huskies.

“He was pretty hobbled yesterday. It’s going to be a long shot for him to get back this week,’’ Carroll, whose team is ranked No. 1 in the nation in both The Associated Press and coaches polls, was quoted as saying by the AP. “But he, like Cary (Harris, a cornerback who has a dislocated his right shoulder), is not going to accept that and he’s going to try to fight his way back out there.’’

The 6-foot, 225-pound Maiava has played in all three of the Trojans’ games this season, and has nine tackles – seven solo, and one for a loss. He has broken up two passes.

Kai Maiava made his collegiate debut last week against Miami of Ohio. He entered in the second quarter of the Buffaloes’ 42-0 victory after starting right guard Devin Head suffered a neck stinger.

On the Colorado depth chart released Tuesday, Maiava is listed as No. 2 at right guard behind Head, and as the second-stringer behind Wes Palazzi at left guard. Maiava said he was told he would start, however.

“Coach (Jeff) Grimes (Colorado’s offensive line coach), told me I would start against Oklahoma,’’ he told The Maui News on Wednesday.

Maiava, listed as 6-0 and 295 pounds, also said that he was trying not to let the fact that the Buffaloes are facing the Sooners, ranked No. 3 by the AP and No. 4 by the coaches, get him too worried beforehand.

“I’m the kind of guy who never really got nervous before games,’’ he said.

“I don’t let the decal on the helmet be a big deal. We know they’re a Big 12 school, and we just have to go do what we’re supposed to do.’’

On Tuesday, Colorado coach Dan Hawkins praised Maiava’s performance.

“He did a nice job, Kai played really, really hard; he really did, and so did Ryan (Miller, another freshman offensive lineman),’’ Hawkins was quoted as saying on Colorado’s Web site. “I was really pleased with both of those guys. I think it was great for them to get in and get their feet wet and get some action. I think that is great for those guys in practice too, because they understand the pace of the game and what it takes to be successful.’’

Kai Maiava said he was excited about the chance that he and his brother may both start.

“I’m proud of my brother,’’ he said. “I always go on about SC, and the guys here give me a hard time about it. I’m a fan of his, and I love what he does. It’s the same way back. He’s always telling me to do my best.’’

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