UCLA Football 2019: Position Group Preview – Offensive Line

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Dorian Thompson-Robinson #7 of the UCLA Bruins lines up at the line during a 26-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats at Rose Bowl on September 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Dorian Thompson-Robinson #7 of the UCLA Bruins lines up at the line during a 26-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats at Rose Bowl on September 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Go Joe Bruin continues to examine the UCLA football team as we head into the 2019 season. Today, we look at the state of the offensive line.

There is no doubt the UCLA football team improved offensively last season. Game 1 was a completely different story from Game 12. If there was one word to describe the first third of the season and the last third, they would be “atrocious” and “astounding,” respectively.

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A major reason for the Bruins sudden uptick in success had to do with the offensive line. Things started off a bit rocky, but they stabilized in Game 4. That is when Boss Tagaloa rejoined the team after serving a three-game suspension and brought some stability.

The interesting thing about that situation is that Tagaloa would be playing the center position for the first time at UCLA. The previous two seasons he was headhunting on the defensive line. Still, he did one hell of a job to help bring things together as the season progressed.

  • First Four Games of 2018: 17.0 ppg, 311.3 Total Yards, 30.4% 3rd Down Conversation
  • Last Four Games of 2018: 31.3 ppg, 485.5 Total Yards, 40.4% 3rd Down Conversation

But a lot of the improvement on the offensive line had to do with OL coach (and now offensive coordinator) Justin Frye. His development of players and innovation in scheme allowed the players to blossom in a short amount of time. Just look at the stats above.

There is no doubt the Bruins will be a lot more efficient to start the 2019 season than they were the 2018 season, the question is now, how good will they be?

Left Tackle

  • Sean Rhyan (Fr) 6’5, 305
  • Alec Anderson (R-Fr) 6’5, 285
  • Zach Cochran (R-So, Walk-on) 6’5, 300

This is going to be an interesting position to watch as the Bruins will have a competition going for the left tackle spot. With Andre James jumping to the NFL, that leaves the end of the line open and will be the only spot to not return a starter. The obvious choice might seem like Alec Anderson, but the Bruins also have the jewel of their 2019 recruiting class coming in, Sean Rhyan. Even if Rhyan doesn’t get the starting spot, you can expect to see him a lot on the field this season as both him and Anderson will hold down the end fo the line.

Left Guard

  • Michael Alves (R-Jr) 6’5, 315
  • Jon Gaines (R-Fr) 6’4, 285
  • Beau Taylor (Fr) 6’4, 285

Michael Alves slowly got better (like most of the offensive line) as the 2018 season progressed. On top of that, he looks like he had made significant progress through spring which is a good sign for the offense going forward. The Bruins also have back up at the spot as John Gaines has been making his own personal strides. On top of that, the Bruins get some depth with the addition of Taylor.


  • Boss Tagaloa (Sr) 6’2, 320
  • Sam Marrazzo (R-So, Walk-on) 6’3, 290
  • Duke Clemens (Fr) 6’4, 280
  • Bradley Whitworth (Fr, Walk-on) 6’4, 285

The left guard and the center spot are both the deepest positions on the offensive line. So it really helps that they are also stacked with talent. Last season, we saw the line get better three games into the season when Tagaloa came off of his early-season suspension. At that point, the line improved each week. That says a lot about a player who is on the defensive line the season before. With Tagaloa and Marazzo anchoring the line, UCLA should continue to be able to move efficiently downfield. Clemens will also add backup, but his appearance on the field will depend on how quickly he assimilates into the system during fall camp.

Right Guard

  • Chris Murray (So) 6’3, 300
  • Baraka Beckett (R-Fr) 6’4, 285
  • Josh Carlin (Fr) 6’4, 280

So not only did UCLA have a first-year center, but they also had a first-year right guard. This is a testament to what offensive line coach and now offense of coordinator Justin Frye has been able to accomplish in the trenches. Murray was physically gifted but you also add in knowledge from Frye and that was a factor in helping his development. The Bruins will also have Bennett to help back up the guard spot as well as a very feisty incoming freshman in Carlin.

Right Tackle

  • Jake Burton (R-Jr) 6’5, 300
  • Lucas Gramlick (R-Fr, Walk-on) 6’8, 310
  • Luke Young (Fr, Walk-on) 6’5, 285

There are a few spots on the line that are bursting with talent and some parts that are thin as paper. This is the latter. Jake Burton was pretty solid on the right side and will hold this position down until another emerges. Though he has the talent, there is not a lot of experience behind him.

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I would expect the coaches to try out different players at this position to get the best fit on the second tam, but for now, the Bruins will be supporting the right side with walk-ons.