UCLA offensive tackle Simon Goines out with medical condition

UCLA offensive tackle Simon Goines will not participate in training camp due to an undisclosed medical condition, head coach Jim Mora said on Monday.

The redshirt junior has struggled with several leg injuries throughout his career, and missed all of the 2014 season in an attempt to get fully healthy. However, Mora said that the lineman’s condition is not related to his past injuries, and also that it was not life-threatening.

Without Goines, who started 20 games in his first two seasons, UCLA will rely on Caleb Benenoch at starting right tackle. In addition to senior center Jake Brendel and junior left tackle Conor McDermott, the Bruins’ first string currently consists of left guard Kenny Lacy and right guard Alex Redmond.

Also absent from the first day of camp were redshirt sophomore running back Craig Lee (academics), tight end Chris Clark (didn’t dress due to mononucleosis), and receiver Cordell Broadus. Broadus was granted a couple of days off due to a personal issue.

UCLA plans to redshirt offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry

UCLA is planning to redshirt offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry, who underwent surgeries on both shoulders this offseason.

Quessenberry had started 19 games through his freshman and sophomore seasons, playing guard in all but one of those appearances. Head coach Jim Mora said he was unsure whether or not the former three-star recruit will switch to center when he returns in 2016. Quessenberry started the 2014 season opener against Virginia at center in place of Jake Brendel, who is now a redshirt senior.

Even without Quessenberry, the Bruins return plenty of game experience in the trenches, including Brendel and his 39 career starts. Five other linemen have combined for 73 starts.

Offensive tackles Caleb Benenoch and Simon Goines were also limited by injuries in spring, but project to be ready for at least part of preseason camp at Cal State San Bernardino. Linebacker Kenny Orjioke and running back Steve Manfro are also on track to be healthy this season.

UCLA spring camp position review: Offensive line

UCLA's offensive line during spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 23, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA’s offensive line during spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 23, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

The improvement of UCLA’s offensive line has been a recurring storyline for more than a year, so you’re allowed some skepticism as you read this: Despite allowing 128 sacks over the last three seasons, this could be one of the team’s strengths.

As usual, the caveat is that the line will need to stay healthy. But unlike the last few years, the unit has the sort of depth that can sustain a certain amount of attrition. Two starters are crucial: left tackle Conor McDermott, and center Jake Brendel. The former has had shoulder problems in the past, but was a game-changing left tackle through the second half of last season. He looked healthy and capable all of spring. Brendel is still the only full-time center UCLA has had in the Jim Mora era, and the one game he missed wasn’t pretty.

Injuries to either one could throw the line completely out of whack. But the other spots? Losing someone for a few games wouldn’t be a death sentence. Continue reading “UCLA spring camp position review: Offensive line” »

UCLA spring camp notes: Bruins run shortest practice of the month

— UCLA ran its shortest practice of spring camp today, a 90-minute session without pads. The quarterback rotation continued with Jerry Neuheisel taking first-team reps in 11-on-11 and Asiantii Woulard taking the second team. Walk-on Jake Hall actually got a lot of seven-on-seven reps too, so it really doesn’t appear as if the Bruins are looking to cut down their list of starting candidates.

— The best play of the day went to linebacker Kenny Young, who broke through the line to tip Jerry Neuheisel’s pass, then snatched it for a pick six.

— Simon Goines returned to start at right tackle for team reps today after taking a bit of a break on Wednesday. UCLA did deploy a new look on its second-string offensive line. Continue reading “UCLA spring camp notes: Bruins run shortest practice of the month” »

UCLA spring camp notes: Kolton Miller takes first-string O-line reps

— Offensive lineman Simon Goines was present at today’s practice, but remained on the sideline when UCLA went into 11-on-11 drills, presumably giving him a day of rest given his long history of leg injuries. With Caleb Benenoch taking on a similar workload, first-string reps at right tackle went to redshirt freshman Kolton Miller.

The former four-star recruit had looked good as a backup left tackle through spring, and he continued to hold his own moving up to play with the starters. Former four-star recruit John Lopez, who hasn’t really been in the two-deep, took Miller’s place as the backup left tackle.

— After giving every quarterback a share of first-team reps on Saturday, UCLA has gone back into the two-by-two rotation. Today wasn’t the most enlightening session, as the Bruins mostly eschewed downfield plays for runs and goal-line work. Continue reading “UCLA spring camp notes: Kolton Miller takes first-string O-line reps” »