UCLA’s offensive line has given up 128 sacks over the last three seasons, but that doesn’t mean that the unit is hurting for confidence.
Just ask offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch, who said the line has made a 180-degree turn since the start of last season, when it gave up five sacks against Virginia. When the two teams kick off again this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl, Benenoch will be lining up on the other side of left tackle Conor McDermott — who didn’t move into the starting lineup until halfway through last season.
Asked how he and McDermott stack up against other tackles, Benenoch didn’t hesitate: “How good are we? We’re the best in the country. It’s simple.”
Benenoch was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention as a sophomore. McDermott earn any postseason accolades, but is arguably the Bruins’ best offensive lineman.
Neither one was among Phil Steele’s preseason All-American selections, which go four teams deep. Fourth-year starting center Jake Brendel was UCLA’s lone offensive representative on the list.