offensive line – Press Enterprise

In order to have success this season, UCLA must figure things out on the offensive line.

Sophomores Duke Clemens and Sean Rhyan return as core pieces for a unit that lost three other starters.

Offensive coordinator Justin Frye also serves as the offensive line coach, which gives him the opportunity to rebuild the line with an emphasis on protecting starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

“(Frye) teaches us what we need to do,” offensive linemen Alec Anderson said. “Off the field, he teaches us life lessons that we can carry with us.”

Several linemen returned to camp with additional weight after spending more time at home during the pandemic.

“Home cooking is a great thing,” Anderson said. “You can’t get enough of your mom’s food.”

Here’s a breakdown of where UCLA stands at offensive line:

Key returnees: Duke Clemens (G, So), Sean Rhyan (T, So.), Sam Marrazzo (C, Jr.), Alec Anderson (T, R-So.), Jon Gaines II (OL, R-So.),

Key losses: Christaphany Murray, Jake Burton, Boss Tagaloa

Newcomers: Atonio Mafi (OL, Sr.),  Justin Williams (OL, Fr.), Bruno Fina (OL, Fr.), Patrick Selna (OL, Fr.)

Biggest unanswered question: What depth is available? Mafi is the latest defensive lineman to make the switch to the offensive side. Coach Chip Kelly has enough confidence in the depth available along the defensive line that he was willing to convert Mafi to the offensive line this offseason.

The position change was not a drastic switch for Mafi, who played on the offensive line at Junipero Serra High in San Mateo.

Kelly made a similar move in 2018 when he moved Boss Tagaloa to center, where he was a proven success helping block for Joshua Kelley, who rushed for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.

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Anderson, a Rancho Cucamonga Etiwanda High alumnus, has taken over at right tackle throughout camp.

Why 2020 production could be better: Clemens and Rhyan gained valuable experience last year as true freshmen. Both will be expected to take the next step forward as they look to add stability along the line beyond this season.

Grad transfer Paul Grattan added experience to the offensive line after starting 33 games over the past three seasons at Villanova. Grattan played center and left guard during his time with the Wildcats. Anderson said Grattan has rotated in with the first team as a guard throughout camp.

Why 2020 production could be worse: Tagaloa was the only senior offensive lineman from 2019 so his departure was expected. The Bruins didn’t expect to lose two other starters due to transfers.