If you've missed the news, UCLA defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa — or "Owa" to the casual UCLA fan — has been ruled out for the 2013-14 football season due to hip surgery.
Obviously, this is a huge blow to a UCLA defense that's going to be, for the most part, young and raw, a team that will likely see freshman start at least half of its defensive backfield, and now, possibly two of the three down lineman in UCLA's 3-4 scheme.
Indeed, Owa was set to take over for Datone Jones, who went in the first round of the NFL draft this past April. While Owa wasn't a world-beater, he was slated to have an important season, this being his junior year, and he was a shoo-in for a starting spot at defensive line.
In the 3-4, where the linebackers are the stars but the defensive line is the unheralded workhorse, the loss of Owa for the season hurts.
This UCLA defense, though? They'll be just fine without him.
Yes, we understand that Owa brings a lot of talent to a defensive line that proved to be the Bruins' biggest strength in 2012. We know that Owa lining up alongside defensive end Cassius Marsh would make several backfields debilitatingly uncomfortable.
Despite this, though, fans and media members forget that the Bruins are bringing in Kenneth Clark and Kylie Fitts, two well-regarded incoming freshmen that are hell-bent on earning playing time early on. People seem to forget that Ellis McCarthy, the five-star second-year lineman and human mammoth, should be healthy by the time the fall rolls around. People forget that it is Anthony Barr who's receiving the Heisman hype, that it's Eric Kendricks who led the Pac-12 in tackles last season. People can't seem to remember that the squad brings in a lot of young talent on defense, a significant fact considering UCLA had tremendous success with youngsters in 2012.
The loss of Owa? It's a blow, but it isn't anywhere near debilitating. Frustrating, maybe, but not damning.
The Bruins do bring back formidable All-American-caliber players on defense (in the form of Kendricks, Barr and perhaps Marsh) and the Bruins do still have Randall Goforth and Anthony Jefferson, both of which have proven