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Devin Lucien with the impressive one handed grab
There was plenty of youth out on the field in Houston this past Thursday. It shows that head coach Jim Mora isn't afraid to opt for talent over experience (something the previous regime was reluctant to do).
Seven true freshmen saw play time in the game (Ellis McCarthy, Simon Goines, Randall Goforth, Jordan Payton, Kenny Walker, Ka'imi Fairbairn, Ishmael Adams), and both Goines and Fairbairn started at right tackle and kicker, respectively.
By all accounts, the true freshmen played very well. Goines started and had two huge blocks which helped to spring Franklin for touchdown runs. McCarthy got a sack on the first play he was a part of, while Walker had a nice grab for good yardage.
Of course, with inexperience comes some bad. Fairbairn had three extra points blocked in the contest. That cannot continue—especially in a tight game situation.
Redshirt freshmen that played prominent roles included Hundley, Jake Brendel, Devin Lucien, Torian White and Steven Manfro.
White manned the left tackle spot and was solid. As the starting center, Brendel was excellent. He often got to the second level and displayed his impressive athleticism. Manfro had a poor day—as he muffed a punt and dropped a clear touchdown pass with no one within 10 yards of him.
Kudos to Mora and his staff for going with the young talent. It's somewhat of a risky proposition—considering the reliance on so many young players in important positions. However, they are the most talented in some cases and it'll ultimately bode well for the future.
For instance, a core of Goines, White and Brendel allows for the UCLA offensive line to have a bright future for years to come.
It will, however, be fascinating to see how the relatively young roster reacts to adversity on the field in a tough environment or against a talented opponent.