UCLA to go with two-quarterback system in Week 1

UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel had a conference call set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday night to announce his starting quarterback. He took to the phone at 6:09.
After waiting until four days before the Bruins open their season on Saturday afternoon at Houston, what’s another nine minutes?

Now, it turns out, what’s another week or so?

Neuheisel said that while junior Kevin Prince will start against the Cougars on Saturday, fellow junior Richard Brehaut would also see extensive action, and added that the competition continues as neither quarterback has separated himself.

“This is not so everybody feels good,” Neuheisel said. “It’s so that the competition continues. We’re going to play this position well. We’re going to play it consistently. Both kids are capable of doing that and I’m going to expect it from them. I’m excited to watch them both play.”

Neither quarterback was consistent last year, and rarely was their cause for much excitement, as UCLA’s passing game fell to historic lows. Behind Prince for five games – after being sidelined for much of fall camp by a back injury, he was lost midway through the year after knee surgery – and Brehaut for seven, the Bruins ranked 116th out of 120 FBS teams in passing offense at just 141.08 yards per game.

With Prince still recovering during spring practice and Brehaut switching between UCLA baseball and football, Neuheisel declared the competition open heading into fall camp.

Prince saw most of the first-team reps throughout camp, but Brehaut came on strong with his passing skills eclipsing Prince’s while he worked back into form. In recent practices, Prince has been much-improved in the throwing game and that, combined with his talents in the run department, will give him the first shot against Houston.

“I think that coach Neuheisel just saw that Richard is very capable and we both bring unique things to the table in terms of our ability and things that we’re able to do when we’re in the game,” Prince said. “So I don’t know if Richard won or I lost or however you want to label it. We’re both capable of playing the position well and that’s what we’re going to do on Saturday.”

Neuheisel said score and time would not dictate usage, and that he hoped to maintain a rhythm if the offensive was moving. He also added later that freshman Brett Hundley could see some action in a “small package.”

“I just believe both deserve to play, so both are going to play this weekend,” Neuheisel said. “We’ll start Kevin, and Richard will come off the bench and play. I’ve told both of them that I don’t know exactly when or how or why, because when you make promises of that sort, you end up setting yourself up for disappointment because you can never predict the ebb and flow of a game.”

Neuheisel made a similar commitment to Brehaut last season, but Brehaut did not see any action until Week 2 in a 35-0 loss to Stanford, when he completed 5-of-9 passes for 42 yards and an interception. He didn’t play again until starting for Prince in a 42-28 win over Washington State in Week 5 as Prince nursed the knee injury, which eventually cost him the season after a one-game return in a 35-7 loss to Cal.

“I think things are a little bit different this year,” Brehaut said, when asked why he had faith that he’d play on Saturday. “I think I’ve proven myself a little bit more this year that I am capable. I think there might not have been that sure faith in me last year and maybe that was the reason why I didn’t go in there.”

Neuheisel opened the conference call referencing the belief that he’d made his decision long ago and was just playing coy with the media.
Instead, he said, he accomplished his goal.

“I didn’t reach this conclusion months ago and then decide today just to keep you all in the dark,” Neuheisel said. “I wanted to create competition. We did that. We created an atmosphere where both kids were going to be given ample opportunities and we wanted to create an environment where the best would be the guy.”

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  • Blitzed

    This just sounds like a man who is desperate. Like someone afraid to make a decision. He needs a winning season and he can’t even make a firm decision on the most important position on the field. 4 days before the first game and I’ve already got a sinking feeling about this season.

  • danny

    When has a 2-QB rotation EVER worked? Can anybody think of an example where it was effective?

  • Semi-Pro

    Florida: Chris Leak & Tim Tebow

    Boom Roasted!

    And as I said in a previous thread, when was the last time UCLA was able to keep their #1 guy healthy for a full season? When you consider recent history of QB injuries, I don’t blame him for having 2 (or 3) guys ready to play.

  • Semi-Pro

    One other thing. What exactly is the benefit of naming a #1 guy when you don’t really have one? Neither KP or RB did anything to decisively win the starting job, so what would be the purpose of arbitrarily making one of them “the guy” when he hasn’t even EARNED the job??

  • Anon

    I’m all for playing both KP and RB in the Houston game. Let the competition shake things down. Whoever can’t handle the heat doesn’t deserve to play. These guys have been babied enough. It’s Prince’s 4th year and Brehaut’s third year. Time to perform.

    I think Brehaut handles live game situations better so he’d probably win out in a real world situation. he seems like he does better in the games than in practice while Prince is the opposite. I hate the entitlement that’s been going on in the past. The idea that Prince played without practicing always riled me.

    While it’s not ideal, neither player has truly earned a full start and we’re at the point where we need results. We can’t wait for Prince to develop for the 4th year. If he does great, we can go far. If he does poorly, he gets the early hook. Performance should take precedence. No more entitlement. No more excuses. The seat can’t get any hotter for CRN.

  • Blitzed

    @Semi If only either of these guys were even half as talented as Leak or Tebow was, we might have something.

  • BruinFaithful

    Semi-Pro:

    Leak and Tebow? Please. Leak got a large majority of the snaps and Tebow was in mostly in Run and special package situations. What CRN claims he will do with Hundley.

    I remember Texas and OK trying the same thing a few years ago, with not good to mixed results.

    Texas had Chris Simms and Major Applewhite share snaps. Simms seemed to drift lower and lower as the season went on, and as a supposed Star QB, he never regained his confidence. By the end of the season, it seemed Applewhite was the guy. I don’t remember the team really going anywhere.

    Try again.

    I would rather have one guy. One starter. Just like Baseball. Give the guy and the team the confidence to know who the starter is. Let him start on his own terms. And if he falters, just like with a starting pitcher, then you yank him.

    I really don’t believe CRN is going to play Brehaut much unless Prince falters severely.

  • Bruin_jim

    Neu is not doing this because he can’t make a decision, he’s not doing it because they both suck. He’s doing it because he wants to see who’s the gamer, and they’ve both showed they can get it done in practice. What better determiner then the real test! And what team, nfl or college, doesn’t strive to have two solid QB’s? This is a blessing that UCLA hasn’t had in what, 6 years?

  • FG UW fan

    Seriously?

    Well, at least RN willingly picked his coordindators before the season started, even if that took forever.

    Joking aside, this sounds like a REALLY bad idea. Here’s my couch-potato advice:

    1) Shelve Hundley. Redshirt. Much better for Hundley and for your program to do that than to play him 5 plays a game in some stupid wildcat thing.
    2) Pick one guy and go with him. The guy needs all the snaps he can get. That’s how the QB will get better each week. Not going to happen, if Prince and Brehaut are yo-yoing each series.
    3) If Prince is really that much better with the ball fakes, is an Ok passer and you’re going to run thie pistol thing is your base-running package again this year, pick Prince. If Brehaut did not clearly beat him out and he clearly hides the ball better in your run game, he’s your guy.

  • FG UW fan

    “This is a blessing that UCLA hasn’t had in what, 6 years?”

    I am a fan for a different school, but I don’t see how it is a blessing that the staff can’t seem to pick a starting QB going into a make or break year…while their window closing on their coach to save his job…and for the program to make a dent in SC’s recruiting monopoly while the scholarship restrictions are in place.

    Good luck.

  • Semi-Pro

    I agree that Hundley should not be used unless both QB’s falter and we just absolutely NEED to try something different.

    Then again, odds are he will be the starter next season anyway, so why not get him that much more game experience so he’s even better? And what if, say, in week 5 or 6 he’s just absolutely lighting up the practice field? Do you still keep him on the bench when he can legitimately improve your chances of winning/getting to a bowl game this year?

    It’s a tough call.

  • Blitzed

    Bruin jim, Sorry but there is no way you can tell me this is a blassing in disguise. We don’t have two solid QB’s. Both have been given game experience in the past. And both of proven to be marginal at best. If a NFL team had these two guys they’d be looking to trade for someone else or drafting a new one. At the college level, if a legitimate football school had either of these two, it’d be a down year at the position for them. These guys are 2nd or 3rd options elsewhere.

  • FG UW fan

    “It’s a tough call.”

    I don’t think it’s a tough call. He struggled in spring because he’s not yet used to the complexity of the college game, and he has missed all of fall.

    QB is the most complicated position on the team. To be fair to the kid and not throw him to the wolves, give him a whole redshirt year at this point. Let him come in next year and push these guys for the job then, without having thrown 3 INTs a game the last half of his FR year, because he didn’t know what he was doing against coverages he’s never seen nor ever heard of in high school.

    Prince has 1 more year in the program after this one, and Brehaut two. If he doesn’t beat out Brehaut before Brehaut leaves, he takes the reins as a redshirt SO, his 3rd year in the program.

    Once Brehaut is gone, it would be nice to have Hundley eligible for the following 3 seasons, rather than having lost an additional season so he could run 10 plays of wildact in what is potentially Rick’s last year running your program.

  • Bruin_jim

    What I meant by blessing is how long has it been out of our hands? Where there has been no competition, and droves of injuries that have left us no choice. You guys are trippin if you think that not One of these guys is going to ball. And is it that bad, that out of the question, to see who plays better on game day? Go Bruins!

  • FG UW fan

    “What I meant by blessing is how long has it been out of our hands? Where there has been no competition, and droves of injuries that have left us no choice. You guys are trippin if you think that not One of these guys is going to ball”

    1) OK. Yes. There was competition this year. It wasn’t decided by 2 guys breaking their foot in fall camp. Got it. Makes sense.

    2) That doesn’t, for me anyway, change the fact that the coaches haven’t been able to decide it, which will stall the progress of the ultimate “guy who can ball” and the team as well. Personally, I think Prince can play and given the chance, will show you he can “ball.” Of course you guys follow your program a lot more closely than I do, so what do I know. But I think it will really impede the progress of the team and the ultimate “guy” if Rick stalls on this decision 3 more weeks.

  • Bruin_jim

    Trust me, Neu isn’t that dumb. If Prince takes the first and second drive 80yrds each, Brehaut won’t see the field till we’re up by 4 TD’s, and the questions of who’s our starter are over.

    I also agree with the redshirting of Hundley, especially since we have two healthy QB’s, and I’ve heard chrisman? has looked solid as back-up also. Only exception would be if he’s an absolute game changer; but I haven’t heard that.

    P.s. Udub, I hope Locker balls it up for my Titans!

  • Bruintx

    First… I wholeheartedly agree that Hundley should redshirt unless he would be seeing SIGNIFICANT playing time. Why waste a whole year dicking around with a few gimmick plays each game?

    I’d have bet $$ that this was going to be CRNs answer to his starting QB dilemma (for at least the first game or two). I think one of them will wrestle the starting job away from the other soon enough. I just hope it doesnt cost us a win before that happens. Its CRN’s job on the line, so I guess we all sink or swim with his decision (for now). Im glad I’m not risking a $1m job on a 2 QB system though.

  • 5DOLLAR

    How soon we forget. This is what Terry Donahue did all through the 1980s: From Tom Ramsey and Neuheisel to Neuheisel and Steve Bono to Bono and David Norrie to David Norrie and Matt Stevens. Most of those years, both played early in the season before Donahue settled on a starter, and who can remember when Roger Staubach and Craig Morton alternated series for the Cowboys in the 1970s. Not conventional, but if neither one is the clear No. 1, no problem with playing both.
    As for Hundley, I would put him in a few series in each game early, kind of like Tressel did with Pryor, so buy the end of his freshman season, he was the starter and was Rose Bowl MVP the next season.

  • Anoynymous

    Given the lack of ability to move the chains last year I’m not exactly sure this two QB system is going to work… He should have just named Prince the starter. I mean, he is starting the game, so I think that makes him the starter. Then again, maybe he is basically just saying Prince is the starter but he’s on a short leash without saying it. This way if Prince screws up he can make it look like he didn’t get yanked. On the other hand, what is going to be going through Prince’s head on 3rd and 7 in the first quarter. Is he going to be making reads and play the position like he is supposed to or is he going to be thinking about the fact that he may not get the next snap at the QB position and either screw up or try to do too much and then screw up.

    I’m sorry, I don’t like it. Kind of a cop out. This isn’t pop warner, sometimes you just have to make a difficult decision and go with it. If you apply for a job and the employer likes you and somebody else they dont call you both and ask one of you to come in Monday through whenever and then the other to come in for a few days afterwards. They hire one guy and tell the other guy sorry. It’s just how it goes, that’s life.

    Let’s just pray the decision doesn’t cost us the Houston game and then Rick can do whatever he wants against SJSU after which he sure as hell better name a “starting QB.”

  • BruinFaithful

    It probably won’t matter, since Prince will probably try to take a LB’er head on, or have some other freak injury and be gone by week 3. In which case, Neu will still run a two QB system with Brehaut and Hundley.

  • Anonymous

    The dual QB threat idea with Hundley poses a different opportunity. I’m not so against that one as Hundley seems to have a completely different skill set that may be able to cause mismatches in certain situations.

    Also, about burning his redshirt year. If we can get him some legit experience I’d say it’s worth it. It will make him more of a competitor for the starting job next year, one which I hope he proves worthy to win. In addition, who knows what is going to happen in the future, there is always the risk of injury early in the season or in camp and if he hasn’t used his redshirt year he can use it then.

  • Anonymous

    I seem to recall Arkansas using two QBs successfully a couple years back. They were ranked and everything.

  • BruinPain

    I’m more concerned about the need to red shirt Hundley at this point. Regarding CRN and Prince, the die has been cast. I’m just hoping our Bruins will be injury free this year.

  • Anonymous

    The #2 qb recruit in the nation didn’t come to UCLA to redshirt.

  • MichaelRyerson

    Jesus, if you guys don’t stop wringing your hands, you won’t be able to type your next belly-aching post. Let ‘em play, fer crying out loud.

  • Anon

    This is going back a few years, but Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine did OK for Ohio State in a rotation system. It works better when the two bring different things to the table. It’s also a way to hide their weaknesses better.

    Having said that, it is primarily used in college football when both QBs have weaknesses. And the problem is that neither was recruited for the pistol offense, which was installed later. So, even if they were both strong, neither would be perfectly suited for the offense.

  • Dawgs win North, Bruins win South

    Was just listening to Colin Cowherd on the radio talk about how negativity is hurting mark sanchez, making him play cautiously and ineffectively. Think about how Neuheisel’s constant criticism has hurt the development of these two QBs.

  • http://danclark.me doctorclark

    MichaelRyerson

    +1

  • Anonymous

    BruinFaithful: It would appear you don’t know much about baseball. I haven’t seen a one pitcher baseball game in years. What Rick is doing is exactly like baseball.

  • BruinFaithful

    Anon:

    Yeah Numb Nuts? When was the last time you saw a Baseball Coach rotate the same two pitchers in one game?

    So you haven’t seen a complete game in years? Maybe you don’t watch a lot of baseball. Clayton Kershaw just had one Monday night.

    That fact however is irrespective of the point of my post. Everybody else seemed to unda stwand it. Maybe you need some reading comprehension skills. Go read it again or go have your mommy read it for you, if need be.

  • Blitzed

    Tedy Bruschi had a great quote on ESPN referring to the Redskins, but it fits here well.

    “If you’ve got two QB’s and still don’t know who your starter is(A week before the first game), it’s probably because neither guy is very good.”

  • Anonymous

    The number 2 recruit in the nation didn’t come to ucla to redshirt??? Andrew Luck redshirted at Stanford and really benefited from that learning year.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry folks, ucla history points to this yr and next yr no good at QB. Even if Huntley starts next year, he will struggle.

    I would never come here as top QB recruit, why?

    Here’s to another great yr!!

  • MichaelRyerson

    Tedy Bruschi? Tedy Bruschi??lol. give me a break! Landry sent plays in with Morton and Stauback fer crying out loud. Freeze at ASU is openly talking about going with a two quarterback system as is Lou Sabin at Alabama. And Shula took the Dolphins to SuperBowl XXVII alternating Don Strock and David Woodley. Let’s just relax.

  • Blitzed

    Prince and Brehaut aren’t future HoF’ers like Staubach either. All these examples using legendary QB’s aren’t relevant. We don’t have legendary QB’s or even NFL calibur QB’s. We’ve got two mediocre ones and a coach trying to cover the mediocrity by hoping the two of them could equal one good QB.

  • MichaelRyerson

    Blitzed, how do you know what we’ve got? these two have been injured more often than not. One or the other of them or maybe both of them could turn out to be special if they could get through a whole season. Don Strock nor David Woodley are exactly HOF material either and when Staubach was splitting time with Morton he was a 27 year old rookie. Now stop wringing your hands.

  • Can’t Wait For Saturday Already

    SHUT UP AND PLAY BALL!!

  • captainqtp

    Jon, is there going to be podcasts this year? I really enjoyed your discussions last season.

  • Blitzed

    Michael, have you been living under a rock for 4 years? You can’t blame everything on injuries. The fact is the two just aren’t that good. Most people would agree to at least that much.

  • Anonymous

    BruinFaithful shows the refinement and class we’ve come to expect from Westwood. Class On!

  • MichaelRyerson

    No, Blitzed, but apparently you have. The two guys we’re talking about are entering their junior campaigns meaning…follow me here…they’ve been in the starting mix for two years, not four. broken jaw at Tennesee ring a bell? Knee surgery anyone? Kevin Craft? How about Olson and Cowan going down on the same day? Injuries didn’t have anything to do with that lost season, right? Anyone, anyone, Mr. Bueller? anyone? How about the star-crossed Crissman? No, I think most thinking people recognise the injury issue has made a hash of our quarterbacks the last four or five years and to suggest you have the slightest idea of what these two athletes are capable puts you in a class with Criswell. sorry. Let’s wait for Saturday. should be fun.

  • BruinFaithful

    Anon:

    I knew you were a Condom Troll. Yeah, SUC, that’s one classy joint. LMAO!!!!

    Why are you here? Go hang out with the rest of you’re Condoms.

    CHEAT ON!!!!

  • BE REAL

    47 posts over 2-days on this topic. Do these morons think anybody reads their posts except maybe their girlfriend or younger sister? You guys are a long way from being Ernest Hemingway.

    And BruinFaithful, I love how you put down SC for being stupid and classless and yet you write, “Go hang out with the rest of you’re Condoms.”– you’re?– get with the program, kiddo.