UCLA was due for some good news, and it just got some: Left tackle Sean Sheller has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, the school announced Wednesday.
Sheller, who started 11 games at offensive left tackle in 2010, missed the entire 2006 season due to a knee injury and the 2008 season due to knee and ankle injuries.
Sheller's return is a major boost to a Bruins offensive line that is much better off than it looked on paper a few weeks ago, when it appeared to be losing four starters from 2010. The Bruins now have two returning starters from this season's offensive line (tackles Sheller and Mike Harris) plus two returning starters from the 2009 season: center Kai Maiava, who missed 2010 due to a fractured ankle, and guard Jeff Baca, who missed the year due to eligibility issues.
Baca likely steps in at one guard spot, while sophomore Chris Ward is the favorite to man the other. Eddie Williams and Darius Savage were the starting guards in 2010.
In total, the Bruins now have eight starters returning on offense as well as just about all the 2010 depth at the skill positions. So new offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will have plenty of experience to work with.
That's the good news. The bad news is the unit ranked last in the Pac-10 in total offense (316.7 yards per game) and ninth in scoring (20.2).