UCLA offensive line likely to start three true freshmen

With three days left until a visit from UCLA, No. 2 Oregon’s defense may already be salivating.

Two weeks ago, the No. 12 Bruins started two true freshmen on the offensive line for the first time in school history. This Wednesday, Bruins offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said true freshman Scott Quessenberry will likely join the mix at left guard.

Primarily a center, Quessenberry played some guard in fall camp, but was redshirting this season until the line’s recent rash of injuries. He has practiced there this week after the loss of left tackle Simon Goines, who injured his MCL in a 24-10 loss at Stanford. Protecting quarterback Brett Hundley’s blind side now falls to All-American Xavier Su’a-Filo, who shifts over from left guard.

Quessenberry had moved to the No. 2 center spot behind Jake Brendel earlier this month, but coaches and teammates said he has picked up the game quickly. His brother, David, was drafted by the Houston Texans this April — taken in the sixth round after becoming an All-WAC offensive tackle at San Jose State.

“He’s from kind of a football family,” Mazzone said. “I think he’s really excited. I don’t think he’s worried. I think he’s excited about the opportunity he’s getting. Fundamentally, yeah, is he a little bit behind? He hasn’t had the work those other guys have. Hasn’t had the game experience.”

“He’s a real sharp kid,” Su’a-Filo said. “As soon as it happens, he catches himself doing it. I don’t really have to say much to him. I just kind of give him a look, and he goes, ‘Yeah, I know, I know.'”

Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm — already breaking in first-years Alex Redmond and Caleb Benenoch on the right side — had been hesitant to move Su’a-Filo to left tackle barring a worst-case scenario. UCLA lost its first starting tackle when Torian White broke his ankle at Utah on Oct. 3, but shifting Su’a-Filo out of left guard would have limited the Bruins’ run blocking. Goines’ injury forced the team’s hand.

For what it’s worth, Mazzone didn’t think youth would significantly affect his playbook.

“Maybe it cuts down on volume,” he said. “We’re not going to change. We are what we are. Maybe we cut down on volume.”

  • LTEfan

    Trying to keep the faith, but it is hard not to see ASU winning the south division now, since they don’t play Oregon and have already beaten UW. But please prove me wrong.

    • Pyperkub

      Yup, especially with Tyler Wilson out in Utah.

    • 92104bruinfan

      Utah is always a tough place to play and Oregon State has gotten it together with 6 straight wins after their season opening debacle. Further, our frosh will have some game experience under their belt by the time ASU comes to visit. Also, ASU tends to be rather mediocre when they leave Tempe. Let’s not concede anything to Sparky just yet.

  • bruinray97

    Wow. I hope Brett can get out of Autzen in one piece…..Any word of Brendel getting any extra work to fix the snap problem Jack?

  • Kam Bing Oei

    Even if we have Adrian Peterson in the backfield, with 3 true freshmen blocking upfront, we won’t get much yardage on the ground game.

  • jabon

    This is really bad! No more South for us this year. Please run Brett like you have never run before!

    • max

      Panic much?

      • jabon

        I panic as much as the next guy. Here, I was just being playful.

    • Bruin 34

      Exactly! We got a lot of talent but they are young. Much like the whole team. Oregon was horrible for years. They barely started getting good in the mid 90’s and it takes time to get in our system.

      • Joe Blow

        Oregon hasn’t won a NC either.

        • ProbationU

          Don’t say either…we have one. It was a long time ago, but that’s more than the Ducks have so far.

          • Joe Blow

            True. My bad.

          • Joe Blow

            BTW, say hi to Jack for me.

          • ProbationU

            Jack who?

          • ProbationU

            Oh, that Jack! Interesting guy. A little too serious for my taste.

          • Joe Blow

            The “jack off” on the usc site…Jack B

  • max

    How could the coaches not have planned for an injury or two on the line? It happens every year!

    • ProbationU

      We have planned for it. We pulled in a lot of linemen the last 2 years. Neuheisel left the cupboard bare in the OL. We have numbers but they are all very young and inexperienced.

      • William Miller

        Plus those two JUCO linemen made a commitment to the Bruins just to force the hand of the two schools they wanted, Alabama and Ohio State.

    • max

      You are not telling me anything I don’t know about our recruiting efforts on the offense of line. I was specifically referring to the misguided plan of redshirting a number of our talented freshman in the hopes that we would get through the season without any injuries on the OL. That was certainly not going to happen.

  • Bruin 34

    Lmao! Look at the panic. I understand the worry but I have faith in our coaching staff. We’ve already played a record 17 true freshman. Not ideal but it also helps us with depth for next year and beyond. We are the best team Oregon has played this year. Even with the injuries. Have faith! Go Bruins!

    • Joe Blow

      They played Washington

      • Moises Rosiles


  • Donald Romero

    Malcoum Jones needs to play in this game. Perkins and Manfro are East and West running backs. This calls for brusing type of runner, who can block for Hundley, and catch passes from the backfield. Mora what are you saving him for?

  • Bruin 34

    If you really look at it. No team has actually won a national championship. The NCAA has never recognized one. So its all mythical. All these schools claim a bunch. Whoever wins the first playoff championship will be recognized the first ever “true” National Champion. Just like when we were the first team ever to debut.#1 in the BS, I mean BCS. We will be in prime form next year. Go Bruins!

  • EncinitasBruin

    Josie, bar the door.