On Sunday, Rick Neuheisel made it official by naming his starting offensive line. These are the guys that will line up in front of QB Kevin Craft Monday night at the Rose Bowl: junior Nick Ekbatani, sophomore Sonny Tevaga, senior Micah Reed, senior Scott Glicksberg and junior Micah Kia. On the surface it sounds good with 2 seniors, 2 juniors and a sophomore, but that’s not the whole story.
Reed started the final 8 games of last year, and Kia got 8 starts as true sophomore in 2007. Ekbatani played in 4 games back in 2006, Glicksburg switched from defensive line to offensive line in 2006 and played only a bit of tight end last year and Tevaga has never played a down for the Bruins. UCLA will go only as far as the inexperienced group takes them.
Craft is a big kid at 6’5”, 205, and he’s a coach’s kid with a great football IQ. His first Division 1 game was for San Diego St. at BYU, so he’s not going to be afraid of a big crowd, but the Tennessee defense is going to be in his face all night. He’s also going to need to know where sophomore strong safety Eric Berry is at all times. Berry had 5 picks and 86 tackles as a freshman.