2015 UCLA Bruins Football Preview: Offensive Line – Bruins Nation
As preseason camp nears, Bruins Nation is previewing each position, and so far we have looked at the Defensive Line, the Linebackers, and the Defensive Backs. Today we look at U.C.L.A.’s Offensive Line unit going into the 2015-2016 season. The Bruins return 5 starters and get a former 2 year starter back from injury, giving them their most experienced line in over a decade. Whether that experience translates to effective pass protection and fewer penalties will determine a lot about how the 2015 season plays out.
Every silver lining has a cloud, and vice versa.
If you read between the lines, it seems clear the Bruins will start a true freshman quarterback in 2014. And no matter how talented Josh Rosen may be, there will be a learning curve as he adjusts to the speed and timing and pressures of D-1 Football (yeah, FCS, whatever), and a successful offense has to have the threat to both run and throw the football. So with the promotion of the true freshman, Jim Mora is putting all of the Bruins’ 2015 football eggs in one basket.
And the basket protecting those eggs will be the Bruins offensive line.
First, the good side.
In 2014, the U.C.L.A. Offensive Line led a ground attack that netted the leading rusher in the conference, and there are 5 starters from that line returning for 2015. Among them, there is a true left tackle who is finally healthy to start the year, a center who is starting for his fourth season and is among the best in college, and quality depth in the unit as a whole with a nation’s best 131 returning starts. With the Bruins easing in a new quarterback, it makes sense that the offense will rely heavily on that proven ground game to control the ball and tempo, move the chains, and minimize the pressure on the passing game. After three years blocking for Brett Hundley, the importance of its role will not be lost on those five guys in the trenches. Considering the experience and talent in the returning OL, there is every reason to believe the offensive line will maintain a dominant running game and carefully protect a promising young quarterback who will likely need a bit of time to get comfortable in the pocket.
There is also a not so good side.
In 2014, with a unit that returned 4 starters and gave …Read More