VIDEO: Jim Mora talks UCLA’s offensive line


– UCLA coach Jim Mora played it coy Thursday when asked about his starting offensive line, hinting that left tackle Simon Goines (MCL) could still be available at Oregon on Saturday. The sophomore did not practice Thurday, nor did senior Y-receiver Darius Bell.

– Though Mora didn’t talk about the likelihood of starting three true freshmen on his line, he said that the position was “without a doubt” the most difficult for a first-year player. A less-than-stellar offensive line is difficult to hide schematically, and freshmen must also account for defenses that can shift right before a snap. Continue reading

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Stanford 24, UCLA 10: Takeaways from the Bruins’ first loss

No. 9 UCLA was one of five top-10 teams to lose on Saturday, its 24-10 loss at Stanford dropping the Bruins for the first time this season. You can see read the game story here, but here are a few thoughts from the game that knocked Jim Mora’s surging squad down a peg.

1. The offensive line is in trouble. Already without left tackle Torian White (broken ankle), UCLA also lost tackle Simon Goines (MCL) and backup Conor McDermott (dislocated shoulder) in the third quarter. The severity of their injuries is not yet certain, but Goines returned for a few snaps and couldn’t get into his stance properly. He had his left knee wrapped after the game and was on crutches. In fall camp, it was his right knee that was hyperextended.

Xavier Su’a-Filo would likely be the team’s best left tackle if he spent all his practice reps there, and will likely start getting more regardless of what happens with Goines and McDermott. If the pair are out for any extended amount of time, then the All-American guard will move out to protect Brett Hundley’s blind side. Continue reading

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Notes and quotes: UCLA 37, Cal 10

UCLA hardly looked unstoppable in its 37-10 win over Cal Saturday, but it did enough to earn its place as a top-10 team.

Some notes from the night:

– The defense held Cal to a season-low 320 offensive yards. The Bears’ 10 points were the lowest of Sonny Dykes’ (relatively short) head coaching career. If not for some untimely penalties, the Bruins might have kept Cal out of the end zone entirely.

The front seven continued its run as one of the conference’s best, sacking true freshman quarterback Jared Goff three times and coming up with clutch stops. Safety Randall Goforth had an interception, while cornerbacks Ishmael Adams and Fabian Moreau combined for three pass breakups. Continue reading

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Caleb Benenoch: O-line confident, mistakes fixable


True freshman Caleb Benenoch entered Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium last Thursday, thrown into his first significant action of his career after a season-ending ankle injury to tackle Torian White. After watching film of the 34-27 win, he seemed optimistic if not enthused.

“We can do a lot better,” Benenoch said. “We worked to clean up a lot of our mistakes this week. We had a lot of communication errors. Stuff that can get fixed. We’re confident going into the Berkeley game.” Continue reading

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Torian White’s injury unsettles UCLA offensive line

Through its first three games, UCLA’s offensive line had looked every part a resurgent unit — plowing lanes for an effective ground attack and keeping quarterback Brett Hundley on his feet. For the first time in a decade, the Bruins had both NFL-caliber talent and quality depth.

Also crucial was the chemistry, something both coaches and players said had improved vastly since an injury-plagued 2012 campaign. Early on this fall, the Bruins staff had emphasized building a consistent starting five.

Thursday night complicated those plans. In the second quarter of a 34-27 win at Utah, left tackle Torian White broke his right ankle. (UPDATE: White is officially out for the season with a break and slight ligament tear.) Continue reading

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UCLA offensive line earns promising reviews

As the first round of camera flashes dimmed Saturday, Brett Hundley pointed up and closed with these words: “Shoutout to the O-line.”

A year ago, a young patchworked UCLA line did little to keep Hundley from getting sacked 52 times — the highest total of any Pac-12 quarterback. The Bruins’ showing in a 58-20 home win over Nevada was close to a complete 180.

The star quarterback was one of many pleased parties. Almost every tailback credited the line for paving gaping holes. Head coach Jim Mora praised the unit for its pass protection. Even offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, who said he was a bit nervous heading into the game, knew his unit would be fine after two or three series. Continue reading

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Right guard Ben Wysocki vying for starting spot


Redshirt sophomore Ben Wysocki emerged late in spring camp, impressing UCLA coaches enough to give him a shot to start at right guard. He is more eager to compete than ever — especially now that the Bruins have brought in one of the top-ranked offensive line classes in the country.

“Definitely compared to the last class that came in when I was a (true) sophomore, you can see it, that they really are battling,” Wysocki said. “Coach (Adrian) Klemm’s finding guys that want to compete.”

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Right guard rotation key to improving UCLA’s offensive line


SAN BERNARDINO — After one of the worst practices he’d ever seen, Adrian Klemm was asked how comfortable he felt with his offensive line.

Frustrated, the UCLA assistant coach said he expected to start two or three true freshmen.

After the Bruins started preseason training camp in San Bernardino, Klemm clarified: He meant that two or three of his seven freshmen will compete for, not necessarily win, a spot.

“More often than not, they’re not as technically sound as you’d like them to be,” said Klemm, who was named Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. “We have three or four of those guys that are physically close.

“We have probably three of them that have a long ways (to go) in terms of body composition. Two that came in pretty poor shape.” Continue reading

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JUCO lineman Jermaine Eluemunor commits to UCLA

In less than a week, UCLA has landed two of the nation’s top JUCO prospects. Tackle Jermaine Eluemunor visited Westwood this weekend and committed before he left, joining fellow four-star recruit Dominick Jackson as the Bruins’ newest commits.

Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm continues to solidify his reputation as one of the country’s best recruiters after landing a seven-man class in February, this time pulling Eluemunor all the way from Lackawanna C.C. in Pennsylvania to bolster the class of 2014.

The presence of All-American Xavier Su’a-Filo also helped convince the 6-foot-6, 300-pounder to pick UCLA over the likes of Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio State and USC.

From Rivals.com: Continue reading

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Adrian Klemm expects at least two freshman starters on offensive line

Adrian Klemm didn’t mince words. What took place Thursday morning was the worst offensive line practice the position coach has seen at UCLA.

Done without pads due to the Bruins’ increasing injury count, the sloppy session neared closing time with a brutal sequence of penalties, dropped balls and even a safety.

Klemm has established himself as one of the nation’s elite recruiters, but reinforcements won’t arrive until fall. Right now, an offensive line that allowed 52 sacks last season still doesn’t have any stable anchors besides center Jake Brendel and All-American Xavier Su’a-Filo. Continue reading

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