As UCLA’s spring season rolls along, the development of the offensive line has been a key point of emphasis for Chip Kelly and the Bruins’ coaching staff.
UCLA's offensive line working through some 'tough times' in spring to find the right mix https://t.co/DAwYmPBisJ
— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) April 10, 2018
UCLA only returns two starters — Michael Alves and Andre James — from last season, but the Bruins still struggled to protect Josh Rosen. The imminent first round NFL draft pick missed two games due to concussions. Filling the holes so far this spring are right tackle Jake Burton, center Boss Tagaloaand left guard Josh Wariboko-Alali.
From the Los Angeles Times:
While Alves has remained at right guard, James has manned the featured left tackle spot after playing right tackle last season. Tagaloa and Burton are both converted defensive linemen, with Burton making his switch before last season and Tagaloa before the start of spring practices.
The rash of position switches has led to some predictably rough moments. Snaps have flown over quarterbacks’ heads, and the linemen have been repeatedly beaten by an aggressive pass rush.
“There have been some tough times out there,” Burton acknowledged Tuesday, “but we’re just grinding through it and that definitely builds that chemistry between us.”
Kelly’s uptempo offense may provide relief in the trenches.
“I think you’ve got to be sound everywhere you are,” Kelly said, “so I don’t think there’s that concept of, if something happened quickly” it would help the offensive line. “I’ve never thought of it that way.”
This season, UCLA also has a new offensive line coach in Justin Frye.
“He’s awesome,” Burton said of Frye. “If we’re slacking, he’ll definitely get on us, but he’s been teaching us a lot of new things.”