UCLA's Kai Maiava to sit out bowl game

Starting center, backup tight end Morrell Presley are academically ineligible and won't play against Temple. Reserve guard Stanley Hasiak is sent home for personal reasons.

December 22, 2009|By Chris Foster
  • UCLA center Kai Maiava is one of three Bruins players out of the EagleBank Bowl for academic reasons.
UCLA center Kai Maiava is one of three Bruins players out of the EagleBank… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

UCLA will be without a key member of the offensive line and two reserve players when it takes on Temple on Dec. 29 in the EagleBank Bowl at Washington.

Starting center Kai Maiava, the cornerstone of the offensive line, and reserve tight end Morrell Presley are academically ineligible, Coach Rick Neuheisel said.

UCLA also will be without reserve guard Stanley Hasiak, who has been sent home to Hawaii for personal reasons, said a source in the program who wasn't authorized to speak about the issue.

"It's disappointing; they should have done better in school," Neuheisel said of Maiava and Presley. "There is no other way to say it. They didn't work hard enough to get that done."

Neuheisel declined to comment on Hasiak, a freshman who has had a string of confrontations with teammates during practice since he arrived at UCLA.

Presley, who has played in seven games and caught six passes, and Hasiak were jewels of the 2009 recruiting class. Presley, 6 feet 4 and 219 pounds, had committed to USC before UCLA signed him. He and Maiava, a sophomore, can still participate in spring practice.

Hasiak, who had been recruited by USC, California, Michigan and Oregon, among others, is unlikely to return to the team, the source said. He was ranked fourth nationally as a guard by

Hasiak, 6-5 and 318 pounds, played in the first two games as a reserve before being benched and hasn't played since Oct. 17. Maiava's loss is a blow; he was the key component to rebuilding the offensive line after transferring from Colorado. The Bruins averaged 82 yards rushing per game in 2008 and gave up 35 sacks. They improved slightly this season, averaging 112 yards and giving up 28 sacks.

For the bowl game, Jake Dean will move from guard to center and Nick Ekbatani will start at guard.

"Kai is a disappointment, but he didn't take care of his business," offensive line coach Bob Palcic said. "I'm not going to worry one second. We'll go down there with guys who want to play and I'm sure they will represent UCLA well."

Dean started the last two games at guard but has not played center this season. He started seven games at center last season.

UCLA was already thin on the line after losing guard Eddie Williams in October (ankle) and his replacement Ryan Taylor in November (foot).

Taylor, who can also play center, took some reps Monday but will probably be available only for limited play. He has also worked at center in practice the last month.

"I know the calls, I just need to work out the cadence, but I'll iron that out the next couple days," said Dean, a junior. "I worked on my shotgun snaps during the off-season."

Ekbatani, a senior, started 12 games in 2008 but has had little playing time this season.

"It is great to have the opportunity, especially with this being my last game," Ekbatani said. "I know the system pretty well. I have taken mental reps and I'm constantly watching. It's a shame that Kai is out, but I'm here to fill the void."

Prince is ready

UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince said his injured right shoulder has improved enough that he can play in the bowl game.

Prince, who was injured in the regular-season finale against USC, tested his arm the last four practices.

"I'm good to go," Prince said. "I'm feeling well enough that if we had to play tomorrow, I think I could pull it off. There is still some discomfort, but nothing I can't play through. It's gotten to the point where I can make almost every throw without it bothering me too much."

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