Spring Ball Preview: Quarterbacks

As part of my UCLA spring ball preview, we break down the position groupings. With a new coaching staff, the competition should be fierce in the spring, as few players did much too cement starting roles going into spring ball. The Bruins are going to more of a base spread offense and a base 3-4 defense – though they will mix packages and personnel frequently – so take into account the changes. This is only a spring preview, so only freshmen who are participating – T.J. Millweard and Marcus Rios – will be listed.

Quarterbacks

Looking Back
Kevin Prince (10 starts) 126-224 passing for 1,828 yards, with 12 touchdown and eight interception for a 135.3 efficiency rating
Richard Brehaut (4 starts) 67-121 passing for 948 yards, with six touchdowns and one interception for a 135.9 efficiency rating

Projected Depth Chart
Sr. Kevin Prince
Sr. Richard Brehaut
RS Fr. Brett Hundley
Fr. T.J. Millweard
Fr. Jerry Neuheisel

Coming In / Heading Out
In: Fr. Devin Fuller
Out: RS Sr Nick Crissman (graduation/transfer)

Thoughts
New head coach Jim Mora told reporters in an informal lunch session on Monday that Kevin Prince would get the first snaps on Tuesday at spring ball. Who’ll get them two days later when the team practices again is anyone’s best guess. Prince has the early lead because of his experience and the fact that he soldiered on last season despite injury and inconsistency, but the shift to new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s offense really has the position without a leader at this point.
Will it be Prince, the embattled quarterback who looked like an ill fit in the Pistol offense and never gained consistency? Will it be Brehaut, who might be the best fit for a spread offense but never beat Prince in the battle for the starting nod? Will it be Hundley, who came in with great fanfare and has spectators curious? Will it be Millweard, whom the new coaches are raving about?
Mora said he’d like to have the answer become obvious, plain to see by all in the stands and on the field. He wants his man and he wants to stick with him, and that could go a long way in determining how Mora’s first season will go.


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Lunch with Mora

Several UCLA beat writers joined head coach Jim Mora for an informal lunch today, and he had some interesting things to say about the lead-up to spring ball.

* The quarterback competition is wide-open, but Mora said that Kevin Prince will get the first reps in spring ball.

* Richard Brehaut will participate fully in spring ball and is in fact leaving the baseball program during that time period to be with the football team.

* T.J. Millweard will be one of the early enrollees who will join the team for spring ball, so he should figure heavily into the quarterback competition. Devin Fuller will arrive in the fall.

* DB Marcus Rios and JC OL Alexandru Ceachir will also arrive for spring practice.

* Mora said he was nervous about the dept at safety in particular, as Dalton Hilliard has moved to offense and as Alex Mascarenas will be without contact during spring. He confirmed that Dietrich Riley will miss spring ball.

* Mora said he actually tried on the team’s game-day socks today to get a feel for them, and when asked if that was a sign of things to come regarding his attitude as head coach, he said he just is very detail-oriented. Players have complained about the quality and availability of socks and shoes for a while now.

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Out of town

I’m up north with my family for the week. If anything UCLA-related breaks, someone will post here. Thanks for understanding.

Jon

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Jones named to NABC All-District 20 team

From UCLA:

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) has announced the NABC Division I All-District teams for 2012, recognizing the nation’s best men’s collegiate basketball student-athletes. The following student-athletes represent the Pac-12 on the NABC All-District 20 team:

First Team
Jorge Gutierrez, California
Jared Cunningham, Oregon State
Terrence Ross, Washington
Solomon Hill, Arizona
Brock Motum, Washington State

Second Team
Tony Wroten, Washington
Andre Robertson, Colorado
Allen Crabbe, California
Lazeric Jones, UCLA
E.J. Singler, Oregon

The teams are selected and voted on by the NABC member coaches. The above student-athletes are eligible for the NABC Coaches’ Division I All-America teams, which will be announced on Tuesday, March 20.

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Howland statement on his return

From UCLA:

“”This past season has been the most challenging of my 31 years as a college basketball coach. I have endured seasons with fewer wins, but none with more disappointment. The unfavorable light that is cast upon our program is my responsibility as the UCLA head coach. But we will get better and I will get better.

Dan and I have had lengthy conversations about how we as a program and I as a coach can improve and we are in agreement that improvements need to be made. In fact, I welcome the opportunity. I want to thank Dan for his belief in me and in our future at UCLA.

I have poured my heart and soul into coaching my entire adult life and having the honor of being the Head Coach at UCLA is a dream that is still hard to grasp as real. I love this place.

I love walking by the Hall of Fame and seeing the success of so many Bruin teams;

I love the tradition, the values, the expectations, the fans, the passion for winning championships here.

We have some quality young men in our program right now and we look forward to adding outstanding recruits to join them next year.

Make no mistake–we will work hard every day to build upon this year’s nineteen win season and make the Bruin family proud of who we are and what we accomplish.”

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