Brehaut Not Burned

Long ago, Rick Neuheisel realized he had two good quarterbacks competing for one job, and that one was a redshirt freshman and one was a true freshman.
Long ago, Rick Neuheisel realized he had the luxury of holding one of the two back a year, keeping Richard Brehaut’s redshirt, putting him a year behind Kevin Prince in eligibility.
Long ago, Rick Neuheisel realized he would not.
What seemed like a hasty decision, giving Brehaut reps in Saturday’s 33-14 victory over San Diego State, was actually well-thought out and debated over.
“I made it well before the game,” Neuheisel said. “I made up my mind that he’s too good of a player, and we’re going to keep him coming along. I just believe that good things are in store for him. We’ll try to get him in the game as often as we can.”
Added Norm Chow: “I don’t think we burned any redshirt year. We need him to play, we need him to get experience. You never know when you’re going to need a guy.”
Early last week, Brehaut was told he would be called upon if the time came during the season opener, that he would not simply ride the pine this decision because he could.
“It’s been an ongoing situation,” said Brehaut, Scout.com’s No. 9 recruit out of Los Osos High. “(Neuheisel) never told me straight up I’m not redshirting. You never know with the quarterback situation how things are going to go, if guys are going to get hurt. He’s always told me, ‘Stay ready, if I can get you in the game, I’m going to.’ The opportunity came about, and luckily I was prepared.”
Brehaut entered the game with just less than five minutes to play and connected on both of his passes for 39 yards, including a 30-yard pass to Nelson Rosario.
Brehaut said he was well-prepared, having been informed of his possible playing time early. He went about his business in practice all week, just as he has done throughout camp, with the possibility of a redshirt looming overhead.
“I knew in the middle of the week last week,” Brehaut said. “I don’t think it changed my approach. I’ve always been working out here like I’m the one guy. If something happens and I’m that No. 1 guy, I need to be ready. You never know what can happen. What if KP went down? What if Kevin Craft goes down? Then I’m in there like Craft last year. I have to prepare, no matter where I am on the depth chart.”
The decision is not without its controversy, though.
Brehaut came to Westwood as a highly touted recruit, and after Prince won the starting job, it seemed clear that the newcomer would redshirt. Now, though, the two will compete for playing time throughout their careers at UCLA.
“I have to realize that I always have to put in that work,” Brehaut said. “Kev knows his stuff. He got that redshirt where he knows everything down pat. I just have to work extra hard to make sure we can keep that competition up. If we are both at that high level, it’s only going to be better for the position.”
In the meantime, Brehaut will take any opportunity he can get.
“Right now, no, I don’t think I have to catch up,” Brehaut said. “(Prince is) above the bar a little bit on me. I have a base for all the schemes. But I have to get better at the little details, with every single thing I have to do.”

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Kevin Prince On:

On escaping the media for a long shower:
“You recognize that there are a lot of people in the stands and you’re on TV, but you go out and play FB. When everyone’s away and you’re alone, I like to go back to being a normal guy. But you have to relish it.”

On his performance:
“I’m really happy with the way I came out. I started throwing the ball early and got some completions under my belt, and I think it helped a lot during the game. Second half, I just made some poor throws, poor decisions. I’ll watch the tape and learn from it, just grow from it. This is my first college start, and I think I’ll get a lot of good out of it.”

On the 25-yard pass to Taylor Embree on the team’s first possession:
“It was a relief – third-down conversions are huge for an offense, to be able to convert was a big boost of confidence. When we got going on the drive, you do it all the time, but there’s always that seed of doubt because we’re not going full speed. When you do it against another team, you’re confidence gets built.”

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Three on Three with Kevin Prince

On a potential rivalry with USC freshman quarterback Matt Barkley:
“I’m not worried about comparisons or any Barkley-Prince duels. We’re just going to go play football, and I’m sure he feels the same way. He just wants to win games and lead his team to Rose Bowls and championships, just like I do. I won’t be focusing on beating Matt in any one-on-one matchup. I don’t think there’s any rivalry there.”

On what to expect with SDSU:
“It’s kind of tough to know what to expect when you get a whole new coaching staff. Usually you get to watch last year’s game film. This year, we’re not really sure about their whole personnel. We’re preparing for everything.”

On what UCLA is focusing on in game films:
“Right now, we’re worried about schemes. I feel like we have a good game plan, a variety of plays that can match the plays they’ll possibly run.”

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Post-practice update

UCLA got after it on Tuesday morning, with Rick Neuheisel unafraid to get in his players’ faces. There was much 7-on-7 work as the Bruins try to absorb the schemes thrown at them, but there was also plenty of scrimmage.

I spoke with Neuheisel, Kevin Prince, Brian Price, Korey Bosworth and Norm Chow, and I’ll have that in a moment. Stay tuned.

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