Our Still-Too-Early UCLA Football Depth Chart Projection for the 2012 Season: O Line and D Line

The Bruins will need to be stronger in the trenches on both sides of the ball in 2012. The O Line still has a lot of question marks. The D line looks to have a lot of exclamation points. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Yesterday, tasser10 got us started with our first post spring football look at the depth chart with his focus on the linebackers and defensive backs. Today, we'll look at the big bodies on the offensive and defensive lines.

As tasser pointed out, Coach Mora has already called this exercise pointless, saying injuries and ongoing competition make the current depth chart "fluid as water" and already obsolete. Aside from invalidating this post, I still think that's really the best approach. We want to see the best players on the field this season, and the opener against Rice is still 3 1/2 months away. A lot will happen between now and then. So consider this post more of a midterm grade or a progress report. There is still plenty of time for players to shine, or get passed up by those who do. In short, read the following at your own risk.

Bellerophon put up a projected depth chart in February for the OLine that you can see here and for the D Line here. Just prior to spring drills, those projections for the OL were revised by me here and for the DL by Odysseus here. We'll take those most recent projections and compare them to the snapshot of the depth chart Mora released at the end of spring drills to see where players stand, who has stepped up, and who has fallen back.

After the jump...

The Offensive Line

gbruin's pre Spring drills depth chart

Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle

Xavier Su'a Filo

SO 6-4 310

Jeff Baca

R SR 6-4 304

Greg Capella

R JR 6-4 310

Chris Ward

JR 6-4 318

Brett Downey

R SR 6-7 305

Connor Bradford

R SR 6-5 278

Wade Yandall

R SO 6-4 315

Jake Brendel

R FR 6-5 295

Alberto Cid

R JR 6-4 305

Torian White

R FR 6-6 295

Will Oliver

R FR 6-7 305

Casey Griffiths

R JR 6-5 292

Kody Innes

R SO 6-4 285

Ben Wysocki

R FR 6-4 300

Michael Padovese

R FR 6-5 322

Sam Saultz

SO 6-2 315





Mora's post Spring drills depth chart

Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle

Xavier Su'a Filo

SO 6-4 310

Wade Yandall

R SO 6-4 315

Greg Capella

R JR 6-4 310

Jeff Baca

R SR 6-4 304

Torian White

R FR 6-6 295

Michael Padovese

R FR 6-5 322

Alex Ceachir

SO 6-5, 305

Jake Brendel

R FR 6-5 295

Alberto Cid

R JR 6-4 305

Will Oliver

R FR 6-7 305

Ben Wysocki

R FR 6-4 300

Tre' Hale

R SO 6-2, 308

Chris Ward

JR 6-4 318

Brett Downey

R SR 6-7 305



Kody Innes

R SO 6-4 285


First off, the OL lost 2 players this spring, and not to the typical injury bug. Connor Bradford will graduate early and will transfer to another school. Casey Griffiths took a medical retirement. Wherever they end up, they will always be Bruins, we certainly wish them well in their futures

Xavier Su'a-Filo was the lone consistent spot through the spring, but he had some rust to knock off after his two year LDS mission, and was just beginning to round into form in the last weeks of camp. Jeff Baca was the jack-of-all-trades on the OL, being our most versatile lineman and probably the true #2 at LT. He saw time at both guard spots and RT, before settling at RG at the end of camp. This makes sense as RT is our biggest question mark, and Baca will add some security to the right side of the line. This allowed Wade Yandall to move up to LG upon his return to practice from a concussion that ended his 2011 season early. Chris Ward missed all of spring following surgery at the end of the season, but he and Albert Cid will provide the only semblance of depth along the OL.

The most notable difference is the shuffle at right tackle. RS Senior Brett Downey was unable to capitalize on his veteran status to tie down the right tackle position, giving Torian White a chance to move into the spot. White is young and raw, but was praised by the coaching staff during spring drills as his size and athleticism stood out enough to move him up. Will Oliver followed him up a spot, while Michael Padovese moved across to the left side to play behind XSF.

There was some flux at center during the spring when Greg Capella injured his calf and was out for several practices. Inconsistency marked the position in his absence but did allow Jake Brendell and Tre' Hale some valuable reps. With Capella back, the official depth chart lists him OR Jake Brendel as #1 going forward.

A lot has been said about or O Line this spring, and it is certainly not where we want it to be. But I am pretty comfortable with 4 of the starters. Torian White's inexperience is a concern, but his assertion at that spot is encouraging. The biggest problem is clearly depth. Behind the starters, we have very little experience. After Cid's and Ward's combined 10 starts, Brett Downey is the only other Bruin to start a game. Our favorite Moldovan Alexandru Ceachir is in his second year of football, ever. Two redshirt freshman are lined up at right tackle. Padovese and Hale are currently non-scholarship players. I had thought our incoming freshmen were likely to redshirt, but the thin ranks, especially at tackle, leave room for Simon Goines and perhaps another to see playing time this year.

Coach Adrian Klemm will earn his paycheck getting this unit to mesh and develop. Line wins games. We'll see if this unit is up to the task.

The Defensive Line

Odysseus's pre Spring drills depth chart

Defensive End Defensive Tackle Defensive End

Datone Jones

6-5, 280, RS Sr

Ellis McCarthy

6-5, 295, Fr

Cassius Marsh

6-4, 295, Jr

Owamagbe Odighizuwa

6-5, 278, Jr

Kevin McReynolds

6-3, 310 RS Fr

Brandon Willis

6-3, 275, So

Sam Tai

6-4, 275, RS Fr

Donovan Carter

6-2, 313, RS Sr

Iuta Tepa

6-2, 268, RS Jr

Seali'i Epenesa

6-2, 323, Jr

Brandon Tuliaupupu

6-2, 331, RS Fr


Mora's post spring drills depth chart

Defensive End Defensive Tackle Defensive End

Datone Jones

6-5, 280, RS Sr

Brandon Willis

6-3, 275, So

Cassius Marsh

6-4, 295, Jr

Owamagbe Odighizuwa

6-5, 278, Jr

Donovan Carter

6-2, 313, RS Sr

Owamagbe Odighizuwa

6-5, 278, Jr

Sam Tai

6-4, 275, RS Fr

Seali'i Epenesa

6-2, 323, Jr

Iuta Tepa

6-2, 268, RS Jr


Kevin McReynolds

6-3, 310 RS Fr

Wesley Flowers

6-5, 254, RS So

Brandon Tuliaupupu

6-2, 331, RS Fr

As usual, Odysseus knows what he is talking about. Both Datone Jones and Cassius Marsh solidified their spots at defensive end this spring. Though this was a disappointing position for the defense last season (the Bruins ran a 4-3 defense last season), there were a lot of factors which compromised the success of our DL, and there is reason to think that some of those issues will be addressed this season. Hopefully Datone will become the force that we hoped for last season, when comparisons to Brian Price were being floated. Marsh was singled out on a couple occasions this spring for his marked improvement in maturity and play. If he can become a force on the right end (versus the opponent's left tackle and a right handed QB's blind side), opposing lines will have to pick their poison between Datone and Cassius. Besides, they own the coolest pair of names at DE you will hear anywhere this season.

The addition of Owamagbe Odighizuwa to that name game makes it an all-timer. And Owa's play is looking even better than his name. Owa had a great spring and the coaches are anxious to get him on the field on either side, as evidenced by the depth chart. With the DL rotation that will likely be employed, he will get his share of playing time.

Incoming freshmen aren't listed on the depth chart, but Odysseus sees a monster on the horizon, and his name is Ellis McCarthy. I don't know that he'll jump into the starting spot from day one. It may take a whole week. McCarthy's mere attendance at some of the spring practices elicited oohs and aahs from the spectators. If he is the player we all believe he can be, then our DL is in great shape. And if McCarthy isn't ready to jump right into the DT spot, there is great depth with Carter and Espensa both seeing time last season, and McReynolds being the outstanding defensive scout team player of the year as a redshirt. Leading the pack on Mora's depth chart is Brandon Willis, who is well known for his transfers back and forth from UNC to Westwood and then there and back again. This time he has made the much simpler and shorter move from DE to DT. Willis is home to stay now, and looks to be a great piece to the DL rotation.

The defensive line is the deepest unit on either offense or defense, and looks to have as much talent as any other position as well. The DL's inability to apply consistent pressure last season really hurt the Bruins in pass defense (combined with the soft coverage and the rarity of blitzes) and let other teams move the ball and score a lot of points. The move to the 3-4 this season should help the defense by allowing more (any?) creative blitz packages, and the names along the DL look like they should be a mess for any opposing OL to handle. If this unit lives up to its potential, the D will be in really good shape this season.

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