They can’t put up with a false front

Los Angeles Times - - FOOTBALL - By Ben Bolch three starts in 2016 and coach re­cently men­tioned ben.bolch@la­times.com Twit­ter: @latb­bolch

of­fen­sive line­men did not toil in anonymity last sea­son. They were re­peat­edly called out on mes­sage boards as the sub­ject of fan angst af­ter strug­gling to pro­tect quar­ter­back Josh Rosen or open even mod­est­sized holes for the run­ning backs.

If all goes well, the Bru­ins line­men will want their names known in the com­ing months for a job well done. In the early days of train­ing camp, the pri­mary start­ing unit has con­sisted of Kolton Miller at left tackle, Na­jee To­ran at left guard, Scott Quessen­berry at cen­ter, An­dre James at right guard and grad­u­ate trans­fer Sunny Odogwu at right tackle. Kenny Lacy re­placed Odogwu for the lat­ter por­tion of prac­tice Fri­day af­ter Odogwu ap­peared to be a bit banged up.

New of­fen­sive line coach Hank Fra­ley said no de­ci­sions have been made as far as the start­ing five.

“You would like to have a start­ing 10,” Fra­ley said. “That would be nice to have two depths, but the guys are push­ing each other all the way across the board.”

UCLA seems to have a bit more qual­ity depth than last sea­son. Poasi Moala made Jim Mora

Michael Alves, Zach Bate­man, Paco Perez and Jake Bur­ton as can­di­dates to con­trib­ute. James and Lacy are among the play­ers who are in­ter­change­able at tackle and guard, pro­vid­ing ad­di­tional in­sur­ance.

“We ro­tate a lot be­cause you never know how in­juries will work,” said James, who ac­knowl­edged a pref­er­ence for play­ing right guard. “Last year and the year be­fore that, there’s al­ways dudes going down, so to be able to work to­gether with a whole bunch of dif­fer­ent peo­ple, that’s a big thing.”

The 6-foot-7, 315-pound Odogwu, a na­tive of Nige­ria who spent the pre­vi­ous four years at Mi­ami, has pro­vided an in­fu­sion of size and spirit.

“Sunny is very big and loud,” Lacy said. “A big per­son­al­ity. Keeps the group light. We’ve loved to have him so far.”

The last No. 42

Jackie Robin­son’s jersey num­ber is dis­played promi­nently through­out UCLA’s cam­pus, a 42-inch-tall bronze “42” atop a plaque out­side the Jackie Robin­son Ath­let­ics & Re­cre­ation Com­plex.

One place it won’t be found af­ter this sea­son: on the front and back of a foot­ball jersey.

Se­nior line­backer Kenny Young will be the last Bru­ins foot­ball player to wear No. 42, three years af­ter the school an­nounced that it would re­tire that num­ber across all sports in honor of the four-sport stand­out who went on to break Ma­jor League Base­ball’s color bar­rier with the Brook­lyn Dodgers.

Jelly Felix, a se­nior out­fielder on UCLA’s soft­ball team, is the only other player on cam­pus still wear­ing No. 42.

Young ini­tially picked the num­ber at John Cur­tis High in New Or­leans not as a trib­ute to Robin­son but be­cause he fig­ured it was one with which he could bring dis­tinc­tion to him­self. He’s cer­tainly come to re­al­ize the priv­i­lege of rep­re­sent­ing No. 42 as a Bruin.

“You think about the things that Jackie did in that jersey and out of that jersey,” Young said of Robin­son, who wore sev­eral num­bers while at UCLA.

“It was big­ger than sports, it was big­ger than what­ever he was going through and I think that the way he han­dled it on the field, off the field and how he han­dled it with peo­ple was tremen­dous be­cause it could be easy for him to snap or be like, ‘You know what, man, I hate the way I’m beUCLA’s ing treated’ or, ‘I hate the way such and such peo­ple are be­ing treated. Let me be a [jerk] to those guys back.’

“Nah. He an­swered it with dig­nity and char­ac­ter.”

Young, a sec­ond-team All-Pac-12 Con­fer­ence se­lec­tion last sea­son who is on the watch lists for sev­eral na­tional awards in 2017, said he wanted to up­hold the prin­ci­ples of his jersey fore­bear.

“Forty-two’s just a num­ber,” Young said, “but for Jackie to be in it, words don’t even do jus­tice to ex­plain­ing your feel­ing of be­ing in that po­si­tion. It’s some­thing spe­cial. I just wished that the in­spi­ra­tion that he gave to me, I’m that liv­ing in­spi­ra­tion to that next kid.”

Quick hits

Run­ning back Soso Jam­abo missed a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive prac­tice, one day af­ter Mora said he was be­ing held out be­cause of back tight­ness. But run­ning back Jalen Starks re­turned af­ter hav­ing missed a prac­tice for what Mora said was a fam­ily emer­gency . . . . Sopho­more Lo­keni Toailoa played mid­dle line­backer with the first team, flanked by Young and Josh Woods. Toailoa was the line­backer who came off the field in nickel de­fense sit­u­a­tions . . . . The Bru­ins wore shoul­der pads in camp for the first time.

Al Seib Los An­ge­les Times

CEN­TER Scott Quessen­berry (52) an­chors an of­fen­sive line that looks im­proved af­ter tak­ing lumps last year.

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