Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Bad news for both UCLA lines
By ESPN.com staff
UCLA's chief worry is its offensive line, so this is not good news: Starting left guard Jeff Baca has been ruled academically ineligible pending an appeal with the NCAA.
Nor is this: Junior defensive end Datone Jones, the only returning starter on the defensive line, broke his foot during Tuesday's practice and will be out at least a month.
Jones, who had 11 tackles for a loss last season, was a standout during spring practices. Coach Rick Neuheisel told reporters that junior Nate Chandler will move from tackle to end. Chandler only converted from the offensive to the defensive line during spring practices.
Things might be even more challenging for the offensive line, a unit that has suffered four hits since it struggled through the 2009 season.
First, talented Xavier Su'a-Filo, who started at left tackle as a true freshman, opted to go on a Mormon mission. Then the chief candidate to replace him, Nik Abele, was forced to retire because of neck problems. On Monday, it was announced that starting right tackle Mike Harris would be suspended for the opener at Kansas State because of a violation of team rules.
Senior Darius Savage is listed as Baca's backup on the depth chart. He's started eight games over the past two seasons.