Hobbled O-line forces Bruins to make switches
STANFORD, Calif. — An offensive line that seemed as though it couldn't get any younger was forced to Saturday afternoon after two offensive linemen were knocked out of the game.
Down 3-0 at the start of the second half, left tackle Simon Goines injured his knee on the opening kickoff.
UCLA had barely begun to drive down the field when his replacement, freshman Conor McDermott went down with a dislocated shoulder. While the trainers were on the field popping it back into place, Xavier Su'a-Filo, a veteran on the line as a junior, started warming up to move over and play tackle.
After it was determined that Torian White would not play the rest of the season due to an ankle injury last week, offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said Su'a-Filo playing tackle was the worst-case scenario.
It appeared as if the Bruins have reached a code red.
"One after another going down," Klemm said. "There's so much time during the week for guys to get experiences but it’s not the same as game experiences. All they can do is go out there and compete."
The injuries will be assessed this week, but should both Goines and McDermott remain out next week at No. 2 Oregon, Su’a-Filo will remain at left tackle.
"One of the things I can do is give X a little more reps at left tackle which would help him out. It's kind of tough for him to go out there, he's taken a couple in practice each day, maybe about 10 reps, but it's difficult situations like that."
Goines tried to return but did not last long. Redshirt sophomore Ben Wysocki filled in at guard and redshirt junior Brandon Willis who is listed at defensive end also saw some action on the line.
"In our situation, we have a number of young guys playing and they need work at their positions so it doesn't really make any sense to have musical chairs going on at this point," Klemm said. "They need to get acclimated with the guy that they're playing next to and get comfortable on the side of the ball that they're supposed to be on."
Head coach Jim Mora felt that Stanford was the toughest defense the Bruins had faced all season and it showed in a dismal offensive performance. The shuffling of the line didn't make things any easier on a struggling Brett Hundley.
"It's just something where I have to trust who is in the game," Hundley said. "When it all comes down to it, I have to be the quarterback, lead the offense and do what we do best and that is make plays. I've got to trust who is in there no matter who is in there."
Defensively, Erik Kendricks was injured in the first half and was taken to Stanford Hospital for tests on his kidneys. The extent of the injury has yet to be determined but UCLA athletics personnel said the team's leading tackler will be looked at by UCLA doctors tomorrow and so far, all tests have come back negative.