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UCLA Football Loses Key Offensive Lineman Days Before Bowl Game

Junior guard Alex Redmond has left the Bruins team and has hired an agent. The big question is, "Why now?"

Alex Redmond is leaving the UCLA team and declaring for the NFL draft, effective immediately.
Alex Redmond is leaving the UCLA team and declaring for the NFL draft, effective immediately.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Junior guard Alex Redmond has left the UCLA Football team. The news was reported today in the OC Register by Joey Kaufman, four days before the Bruins take on Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl on Saturday. Bruins coach Jim Mora announced the news at the bowl game press conference earlier in the day.

UCLA will be without right guard Alex Redmond for the Foster Farms Bowl on Saturday.

Redmond, a junior, has left the team and signed with an agent, looking to be selected in the NFL draft, Coach Jim Mora told reporters following Tuesday's bowl press conference in San Francisco.

At least we can count on 10 fewer penalty yards for the Bruins.

Since I'm not privy to all the inside info, it's unfair for me to call this a total BS move, so let's just call this decision "curious". It's the week of the bowl game and the Bruins offensive line has already thinned in a big way this year. Simon Goines took a medical retirement, Tavita Halalilo suffered a season ending ankle fracture, Fred Ulu-Perry quit on the team and went home the week of the Southern Cal game, and Kenny Lacy injured his ankle in that final regular season game. Turning pro and getting drafted would seem to be a long shot for any OL underclassman not named Conor McDermott, and he would probably be wise to return. Redmond had an up and down year at best, and the likelihood he gets drafted at all seems remote. Even if this were an academics issue, he should still be eligible for the bowl game as finals just ended and I'd imagine there are appeals processes which could at least delay ineligibility.

Clearly there is more to it than what it seems, but it sure isn't a good look for either Redmond or the Bruins football team. And sadly, that last phrase has become far too common this season.

I'd expect Kolton Miller who looked good in extended reps at tackle this year to start at right tackle and Caleb Benenoch to move over to right guard. IE wrote earlier this year that that was a favorable lineup for the Bruins anyway, so maybe this realignment doesn't hurt things on the field for this Saturday but depth for the future is suddenly a major concern.

In what could and should have been a banner year for the Bruins offensive line, this is a fitting end - if it really is the end. Returning its most experienced and accomplished OLine in almost two decades and featuring one of the top centers in the country in Jake Brendel, the OL, like the season, looked promising. The unit actually performed better when OL coach Adrian Klemm was absent from the team in the early part of the season, but OL recruiting suffered and is still way behind where the team needs it to be, and the on the field unit was dominated in losses to Stanford and Southern Cal, falling short of what was needed and what was possible.

Anyway, good luck to Alex Redmond in whatever his future brings. I hope he finds one of those undrafted free agent contracts.

And I wish much more good luck to the Bruins who will show up and wear the four letters this coming Saturday.