EUGENE - Unless something changes drastically in the next 72 hours, the UCLA Bruins will start three freshman on the offensive line this Saturday. With the majority of the OL in their first year, one would think they'd be ripe for the picking, but Oregon coach Mark Helfrich doesn't seem to think so.
"It's funny, when you watch their line, it's not like you're going 'That's the true freshman'," he said Wednesday. "I thought they've played really well for the last few games.
"It's not a situation where you could block out the numbers and say 'There's two guys that are new', which sometimes you can."
True freshman Alex Redmond and Caleb Benenoch have each started multiple games this season entering Saturday, but redshirt frosh Scott Quessenberry is slated to replace the injured Simon Goines and has appeared in just one game in his career.
According to Helfrich not much of a defensive game-plan can be adjusted to exploit one guy.
"You're not going to totally retool things just because of one guy," he said. "At the same time, we're going to make sure everyone is dialed in and knowing what they're doing. Their system is such that they have a lot of answers for different types of pressures."
In the two games Benenoch and Redmond have started beside each other on the right side, UCLA has given up six sacks and run for an average of 76 yards a contest.
They had rushed for 260 yards per game and given up just eight total sacks on quarterback Brett Hundley in the previous four games.
Oregon knows what it's like to be forced to play a true frosh on the offensive line. This past week Cameron Hunt made the first start by a true freshman since 1997, replacing Jake Fisher at right tackle.
"HIs biggest thing is that he plays really hard and he's a tough guy. He's going to be a really good player," Helfirch said.
"They [WSU] did a couple of things [to pressure him] and he handled those really well. Things that he had to adjust to that were a little out of the norm he did really well."
Helfrich on handling the reemergence of De'Anthony Thomas:
"It's a good problem to have and hopefully it will remain a problem. Depth is a good problem."