2015 Offensive Line Projection

Dec. 3 -- The 2015 offensive line should return all five starters from the end of the year, and could be a very good unit...

Offensive Line Projection

Departures
OG/OT Malcolm Bunche

Returning Starters
LT Conor McDermott
LG Alex Redmond
C Jake Brendel
RG Scott Quessenberry
RT Caleb Benenoch

Key Potential Contributors
OT Poasi Moala
OT Simon Goines
OT Zach Bateman
OG Kenny Lacy
OG Najee Toran

A Look at 2015

Barring offseason injuries, UCLA should return, fully intact, the starting offensive line from the last few games of the 2014 season, and that’s an exciting prospect. McDermott, as we’ve written about extensively, might be the best prospect in the group, showing great feet and quickness through his playing time this year. With an offseason to get bigger and stronger, he could come into next year as a potential All Pac-12 player at left tackle. We’ve heard that there’s even a chance he could get an extra year of eligibility, after sitting out his redshirt year with an injury and then only being able to play a couple of snaps against Stanford in his redshirt freshman year before getting hurt.

The rest of the offensive line should also improve with added seasoning. Redmond was unable to participate in spring practice last year and was limited in offseason workouts while injured, so this offseason could be big for him, since he hasn’t really had a fully healthy one at UCLA. Brendel, as a fifth-year senior, should be one of the better centers in the Pac-12.

The interesting thing to see will be the way the right side of the offensive line shakes out. It’s likely that Redmond will start his third year at guard, and it’s very likely that McDermott has shown enough to lock down the left tackle job, assuming no injuries. Naturally, Brendel will start his fourth consecutive year at center. But on the right side, there’s the question of what to do with Quessenberry. Though he was arguably the best guard on the team through the middle stages of the 2014 season, he’s also the heir to Brendel at center, and we know the coaching staff would like to put another year between the two so Quessenberry gets two years to start at center. We also think there’s a decent chance that Benenoch could move back inside to right guard to fill that space if the coaching staff elects to redshirt Quessenberry. That would open up the right tackle job to a variety of contenders, including JC transfer Zach Bateman, a hopefully healthy Simon Goines, a redshirt sophomore Poasi Moala, or redshirt sophomore Kenny Lacy (and potentially any of the freshmen coming in).

In any case, assuming that UCLA doesn’t suffer an inordinate amount of injuries in the offseason, the Bruins should have more talented depth than they’ve had in quite some time, with a two-deep full of players who have some experience and some real ability. Given that UCLA will be breaking in a new starter at quarterback, it’s a very good thing that the offensive line looks as if it should be the best that UCLA has had in likely over a decade.

Will the offensive line be better in 2015? Yes

Projected 2015 Two-Deep
LT: RS JR Conor McDermott, RS JR Simon Goines
LG: JR Alex Redmond, RS SO Kenny Lacy
C: RS SR Jake Brendel, JR Scott Quessenberry
RG: JR Caleb Benenoch, SO Najee Toran
RT: JC Transfer Zach Bateman, RS SO Poasi Moala

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