BOULDER - It has been no secret through four games that the Colorado Buffaloes offensive line has been a disappointment through four games this season. There are plenty of things to point to as the reason for their struggles but one of the main reasons is the starting five linemen that were anticipated before the season have yet to play together as unit.
Jeromy Irwin was inactive during the first two games due to suspension and Jonathan Huckins has been dealing with a strained quad over the past two weeks. Huckins played towards the end of the Washington game but with the second team.
This week, Huckins said he’s finally starting to feel injury free and should be ready to go for Saturday night.
“I should be able to come back this game and really be at 100 percent,” Huckins said.
That should be a huge boost to an offensive line that has really scuffled over the past few games. The Buffs were dominated in the trenches by the Washington Huskies, who picked up five sacks in the ballgame and continually applied pressure to Steven Montez.
“I think it really comes down to one on one battles,” Huckins said when asked about the issues on the offensive line. “You know, everybody has to star in their role and everybody has to do their 1/11. It's different ondefense you could have eight guys mess up and then three guys do the right thing and make a great play. But in offense if you don’t have all 11 guys doing the right thing, you’re going to have issues.”
Huckins wasn’t going to make any excuses for the line so far. He still believes in the depth that the Buffs have and would expect guys step up when given the opportunity.
“I do think it helps when you have a group work together for longer,” Huckins said. “But either way we feel confident in anyone who’s out there.”
Irwin on the other hand, was disappointed in the way that other guys haven't stepped up and played at the high level that he expects.
"Jon (Huckins) banged up his quad in the second game and had to miss the third one, but that's something we're going to have to adjust to," Irwin said. "You know, we haven't played to the standard that we want to play to and that's something we have to come out here and work on every day in just getting better. No matter who we put in, those guys have to step up and perform. In this conference, they attack weaknesses and I'm not saying guys are weak, but we aren't performing at the standard we want to be performing at."
As they look ahead to a UCLA team that continues to give up hundreds of yards on the ground, CU’s offensive line believes that they have a really good chance at having a breakout game.
“We need a game where we can break out and have a really good game,” Huckins explained. “And UCLA has had some trouble with the run game so hopefully work on that and really have a big game against them.”
The UCLA defense has given up 307.5 rushing yards per game so far this season. The offensive line will have to open the holes to allow Phillip Lindsay to run wild on Saturday night in order for the Buffaloes to be successful.