Lineman Caleb Benenoch reflects on freshman growing pains

Caleb Benenoch didn’t get a chance to ease into his freshman season.

Originally in line to start at right guard, he lost the competition to fellow first-year Alex Redmond shortly before UCLA’s 2013 season opener. Four games in, however, he got his chance — albeit at a separate position.

Starting tackle Torian White broke a bone in his lower leg in an Oct. 3 win at Utah, opening a spot in the staring lineup for the 6-foot-5 Benenoch. The toughest part of his adjustment, Benenoch said this week, was keeping up with the speed of the game and refining his technique. He needed another four games or so to get comfortable with the pace.

The schedule didn’t give him room to breathe. On Oct. 26, injuries forced Scott Quessenberry into action, adding a third true freshman to the offensive line. Across from the line of scrimmage was then-No. 2 Oregon, which had won its previous seven games by an average of 40 points.

But asked if he or his fellow freshmen felt overwhelmed in that eventual 42-14 blowout at Autzen Stadium, Benenoch said no.

“We didn’t,” he said. “I felt in over my head, I would say, when I got thrown into the fire at Utah, and they started blitzing me and Alex from the same side.

“When we went into Oregon, we didn’t realize how big the stage was. That it was College GameDay. We were kind of like, ‘Let’s just go play. We’re freshmen — who cares?’”

Benenoch is again slated to start this season at tackle, though he could be moved to guard if center Jake Brendel (MCL) isn’t ready for the Bruins’ Aug. 30 opener at Virginia.

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  • ThaiMex

    Jack…this is good stuff!… I’m looking forward to watching the “Big Uglies” develop into a dominating force. Gotta love the comments about Bunche. Games will be won in the trenches! The O-Line is so deep and is going to make life miserable for a lot of teams.

  • https://www.facebook.com/charles.bucket.3 Charlie Bucket

    and Caleb, PLEASE, no more knocking out trOXans!!!

    they get to come back in the game when they come to, but YOU get sent to the showers!!

    • ThaiMex

      Chucker…I sent nubsie a “where U been” message at his office yesterday…..No reply.
      Almost forgot about Tavai being dropped to his knees.

      • https://www.facebook.com/charles.bucket.3 Charlie Bucket

        HAWR-HAAAAAAWR!!!

    • Dr. Paul

      Charlie, you need to come to the Phil, They have a USC, the University of Southern
      Cebu but Trojans are banned as it is a Catholic Country.

      • https://www.facebook.com/charles.bucket.3 Charlie Bucket

        Don’t get me started with the Catholic Church. i hear the Pope is saying he has a few years left to retirement (or death), so i assume i MIGHT live to see the next one. a more progressive Pope is needed!

        #WolfmanForPope

  • EncinitasBruin

    Okay, two genearl questions, Jack:
    1. When will you start the Q&As? Those were very informative last season.
    2. Can you please give an update on the punting situation? Is Mengel looking sharp? After all, we lost a very solid punter in Covington.