For junior left tackle Netane Muti, his work ethic is what separates him from others.
“I try to work hard every day,” Muti said. “I just have this thing in the back of my head that somebody’s working harder than me. So it just drives me to work hard every day.”
Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb praised Muti’s work ethic, calling it his “mainstay.”
Muti missed almost all of last season, suffering from a ruptured Achilles on his left leg in Week 2 against Minnesota.
“I feel a lot better now,” Muti said. “I feel 100 percent. My trainers, strength and conditioning coach got my back on the field.”
Muti burst onto the scene in 2017, his redshirt freshman season. He started all 14 games and had a particularly strong showing against No. 1 ranked Alabama, where he faced multiple players on the defense who have since been drafted to the NFL.
Syrus Tuitele joins Muti as the only returning starters to the offensive line. Tuitele started 12 games at right tackle last season.
Grubb said both players are very solid, and he doesn’t have to worry about the bookends on the offensive line.
The three inside spots are up for grabs with many players in contention, including Tyrone Sampson Jr., Matt Smith, Quireo Woodley, Nick Aibuedefe and Nick Abbs.
“We’re just working all those guys,” Grubb said. “And as we get into the next week and a half, we’ll start narrowing that down a little bit. But there’s still a lot of reps to be had out there.”
Although there’s much turnover on the offensive line, the position group has been one of the most consistent under head coach Jeff Tedford, in large part due to Grubb.
Grubb served as the offensive line coach for two seasons, and continues to do so this year as he takes on the added responsibility of offensive coordinator. He has some help though.
Assistant offensive line coach Roman Sapolu joined the staff this season after coaching at Idaho State last year.