LOS ANGELES — Every quarterback’s worst nightmare played out in just a matter of minutes Saturday at Stanford Stadium, when UCLA’s Brett Hundley saw his two left tackles go down in just a handful of plays on the same drive.
Torian White and Conor McDermott are both out and Simon Goines is hopeful but not at 100 percent yet with his knee. Scott Quessenberry has been taking snaps with the first team in practice this week and Xavier Su’a-Filo, who moved over to tackle during Saturday’s game, is still taking reps at that position.
Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone confirmed Wednesday that the freshman Quessenberry will likely burn his redshirt to play left guard this week and Su’a-Filo will remain at tackle.
“Quiz is a sharp guy,” Mazzone said. “He comes from a football family, his brothers all played. I don’t think he’s worried, I think he’s excited for the opportunity.”
Quessenberry is the third brother to play at the collegiate level as his brother Paul plays defensive end for Navy and his oldest brother David, also an offensive lineman, was drafted by the Texans earlier this year.
But what might worry some is that three true freshman will now be starting on the offensive line. Alex Redmond and Caleb Benenoch have had a few games to work next to one another and adapt to the speed of the game.
“Fundamentally, yeah, he is a little bit behind,” Mazzone said. “He hasn’t had the work that those other guys have had in game experience.”
But there doesn’t seem to be any panic on the part of Mazzone. He is confident that either Quessenberry or Ben Wysocki, who played in Saturday’s game, will be able to fill in nicely at left guard and that the replacements won’t force him into altering his play calling.
“I’m not very smart anyways so I don’t have a lot of plays,” Mazzone joked. “If anything, maybe it cuts down on volume (of plays). We aren’t going to change anything.”
But it’s not that easy for a quarterback to adjust to line changes, especially when it effects his blind side protection. Hundley seemed somewhat off last week, short-arming several passes and was at times reluctant to get rid of the football.
“No doubt, it would be like that for all of us,” Mazzone said. “There’s a little bit of him getting comfortable. All of the sudden, there’s three guys on the o-line that he hasn’t been playing with since August 1.”