Winning at Autzen Stadium, a cauldron of noise and vitriol that would normally be associated with a crowd twice the size of its listed capacity of 54,000, is an enormous challenge for opponents. UCLA will apparently try to do so starting three true freshmen on its offensive line.
Scott Quessenberry is set to start at left guard for the Bruins this Saturday at Oregon, with offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone making the announcement Wednesday.
Scott Quessenberry, the younger brother of Houston Texas rookie offensive lineman David Quessenberry, has never appeared in a college game, but will be making his debut against a Ducks defense that ranks third in the Pac-12 with 20 sacks.
Alex Redmond and Caleb Benenoch will start at right guard and tackle, respectively, while veteran Xavier Su'a-Filo will slide from left guard to left tackle as Simon Goines deals with a knee injury.
Redshirt sophomore Jake Brendel remains at center despite recent struggles with poor shotgun snaps.
Add it up, and it does not bode well for a group that has struggled to protect quarterback Brett Hundley over the last two seasons even when healthy. UCLA allowed 52 sacks last season and another 14 sacks through six games this season.
Hundley struggled in the 24-10 loss at Stanford behind a makeshift line, completing 24-of-39 passes for 192 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions under a barrage of pressure from the Cardinal front seven.
UCLA wasn't able to take pressure off Hundley by turning to the running game, as starting running back Jordon James was out with an ankle injury. James is not expected to play this week, meaning Hundley will have to use his mobility and quick passing game to try and make life easier on the offensive line.
It will take a transcendent game from Hundley and the UCLA defense led by outside linebacker Anthony Barr to overcome Oregon. Hundley will have to be especially effective when throws down the field present themselves, an issue that has popped up all season long.
"He struggles throwing the ball outside the numbers down the field," NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks said on the College Football 24/7 Podcast. "The ball just kind of sails out of bounds. He has to be able to make those throws as we talk about being a guy that is a legitimate franchise quarterback."
It never rains at Auzten Stadium, but Quessenberry, Redmond and Benenoch could easily end up with their heads under water.