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November 8, 2005Poker games with the guys usually involve beer, cigars and some crazy rules like deuces and one-eyed jacks are wild and the low spade in the hole splits the pot. The Trojans have their own version of a wild "Deuce" in the form of 360-pound offensive guard Taitusi Lutui. Lutui is having an amazing senior year and is up for the USCFootball.com player of the week award for linemen.
This week we added a couple of new categories for the POTW honors. Now members of The Peristyle can vote for the offensive, defensive and lineman players of the week.
In early voting Deuce jumped out to a comfortable lead before Lawrence Jackson surged ahead. Jackson is also in first place for the defensive POTW award.
Deuce is not going down without a fight though and wanted to plead his case to the members of USCFootball.com.
"I should win dammit," Lutui joked after practice Tuesday. "I came a long way from Tonga to come out here and be player of the week."
Everyone knows about the "Bush Push" from the Notre Dame game, but few realize Deuce was involved in a similar, but much less dramatic, play against Stanford.
It was a touchdown run by LenDale White and Lutui helped out above and beyond the call of duty.
"On that play my guy kind of penetrated and I was running in there too quick," Lutui said. "To make up for that I kind of pulled him (White) in."
With Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart involved in the Heisman debate, who better to chime in than someone who blocks for both players.
"Since Matt got one I think I would vote for Reggie, you can't be greedy all the time," Deuce said. "Why not though, why not get two in a row? But no, I would like Reggie to get one."
This offense can get on a roll and put up points in a hurry and the primary reason is the play of the offensive line. When it comes down to individual players, Deuce thinks his center is the MVP of the unit.
"Ryan Kalil. He is a smart guy, he calls all the calls and he is the man. Working next to him has helped me form myself as a player so I am really grateful to have him."
Deuce transferred into the program last season and has never lost a game while wearing cardinal and gold. While fans may look at this as a revenge game, several players don't even realize the pain felt from that triple overtime defeat at Cal in 2003.
"It is a page turned in the past," Deuce said. "Our main thing right now is to take it game by game, and if it is Cal so what. Cal it is."