One day after UCLA’s fourth straight loss, head coach Rick Neuheisel said the offensive coaching staff would need to evaluate the quarterback situation.
The Bruins played three quarterbacks in their 27-13 loss to the Arizona Wildcats, with none of the three able to lead the team to the end zone. Starting redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Prince went 7-of-15 for 60 yards, senior Kevin Craft went 6-of-17 for 75 yards and redshirt freshman Richard Brehaut went 2-of-3 for 11 yards.
“We’re going to continue to look and evaluate our options as we go forward,” Neuheisel said. “I’m not angry at Kevin Prince. I think he’s a fine young quarterback. We’re asking an awful lot of him as a freshman. I wish things were easier, that all the pieces around him were flourishing and more experienced. We are who we are.
“I’m not ready to make that decision yet.”
He will need to soon, though, if UCLA is to escape this quicksand.
Prince was pulled early in the third quarter after a drive in which he threw consecutive incomplete passes at the Arizona 17-yard line, then settled for a 2-yard pass to redshirt freshman running back Johnathan Franklin, which set up a Kai Forbath field goal.
In a 45-26 loss to Cal in Week 6, Prince completed 21-of-41 passes for 311 yards, but threw an interception returned for touchdown and lost a costly fumble that led to a 43-yard touchdown pass.
Neuheisel was more frank than typical when discussing a possible change at the position; in previous weeks, he has made comments such as “Kevin Prince is our quarterback,” and “We have faith in him.”
Now, though, it appears the position is up for grabs.
Even if Neuheisel wouldn’t make the decision on Sunday.
“I just don’t want to be knee-jerk,” Neuheisel said. “Kevin Prince won the job. Richard Brehaut is a very talented youngster and I want to get him his chances. Kevin Craft has a lot of experience. They all have their virtues.”
Saying they all have their virtues, however, only exacerbates what they lack.
For Prince, that is consistency.
For Brehaut, that is experience.
For Craft, that is arm-strength.
It seems that the coaching staff fully understands that each of their options has a bit of catching up to do. But despite the comments that seemed to imply a budding controversy, Neuheisel was a bit evasive when declaring his starter.
“We’ll know what we’re going to do by Tuesday,” Neuheisel said. “But that doesn’t guarantee I’m going to tell you.”
Dissension in the Ranks?
After a meeting between freshman wideout Randall Carroll and offensive coordinator Norm Chow about the contents of a somewhat controversial Twitter post by Carroll to St. Francis of La Canada recruit Deitrich Riley, Neuheisel said that Carroll would not be punished.
This, after redshirt freshman cornerback Aaron Hester expressed his frustration about the handling of his return from a broken leg.
“In the midst of a four-game losing streak, there’s gonna be frustration,” Neuheisel said. “That’s a natural byproduct. What we have to do is channel that frustration in a positive way. With respect to Aaron Hester, certainly he understands that coming off a broken leg we can’t just rush him into the starting lineup. Maybe on that particular day, he didn’t understand. If communication needed to be more thorough, I’ll certainly take the responsibility.
“With respect to Randall, I think it’s just an oversight with respect to the technology. I don’t think it was intended for a public forum. He and Norm have talked and cleared the air.”
Bumps and Bruises
UCLA sophomore wide receiver Taylor Embree suffered a concussion, but Neuheisel expects him to be cleared pending the typical concussion-recovery protocol.