UCLA could roll into Eugene to face second-ranked Oregon on Saturday with the majority of its offensive line fresh out of high school.
The Bruins were already starting two first-year freshmen on the offensive line, guard Alex Redmond and tackle Caleb Benenoch. Now Scott Quessenberry is likely to be added to the mix.
Quessenberry has worked at left guard through the week, which became necessary when tackle Simon Goines suffered a knee injury at Stanford last week. Guard Xavier Su’a-Filo moved to Goines’ tackle spot.
“I think he’s really excited for the opportunity, I don’t think he’s worried,” offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said of Quessenberry.
Mazzone said that “fundamentally he’s a little bit behind,” Redmond and Benenoch. But, Mazzone added, “that’s because he hasn’t had the work they others have had. He hasn’t had any game experience.”
Will Quessenberry get that this week?
“I think so,” Mazzone said. “We still have a couple more days of practice. We’ll see how it works from there.”
Quessenberry will benefit from playing next to Su’a-Filo, the Bruins' usual starting left guard.
“I can tell him what he’s doing wrong, help him with technique,” Su’a-Filo said. “He’s a sharp kid. As soon as something happens, he catches it himself.”
Su’a-Filo also started as a first-year freshman when he came to UCLA in 2009. He assimilated quickly to the game.
“I was a little unsure and didn’t know what to expect,” Su’a-Filo said. “Your eyes get opened. You’re not in high school anymore. But it gave me the confidence that I could play.”