As far as the football in this matchup, Bruin commit Nathaniel “Sandbeast” Jones did not start, again, although he played, and per the stats he recorded 4 carries. Still waiting to see the flashes we saw during his sophomore season.
Former Friar Jabari Bates definitely started this one, and again looked like the best of their three sophomore, wafer thin tailbacks, including busting an explosive 50-plus yard run down to the 5 yard line — which was called back due to a hold by Matayo Uiagalelei.
Soph OL Earnest Greene again started this one on the bench, but entered on the fourth play (a Kris Hutson fumble) after an injury to Logan Bednar, which looked like a bad rolled ankle. Greene was already reportedly dealing with an injury, and counting Drake Metcalf’s banged up hand, this OL is really going through the injury woes early in the season.
On a positive note, Big Max Gibbs started again at LG, and actually looked nimble and aggressive in this one, after bumbling and stumbling through the DeMatha game. As he gets his 6-6 frame down to a manageable weight, that kid has very high potential. Though some have suggested he could be the odd man out, Che Womack is actually developing into a reliable senior leader on that line — which is important because center was a key weakness for SJB in 2018.
The OL chemistry and health (hopefully Bednar is not seriously hurt) is the key to this offense, as Mater Dei and Eric Johnson EXPOSED the weak links in the Bosco OL in order to win last year’s CIF title game. The key to this team reaching its potential this year will be keeping #5 comfortable in the pocket, and/or DJ improving his ability to handle pressure without panicking, to still make critical throws, and to not turn the ball over.