Kansas State intent on getting to the quarterback. That means you, Richard Brehaut. Or Kevin Craft. Or Richard Brehaut. Or Kevin Craft. Or Richard Brehaut. Or Kevin Craft. Or Richard Brehaut.
“It doesn’t matter if Kevin’s out, we’re still going to be playing with a lot of inexperience on offense. We’ve got to continue to shore up our fundamentals. It was interesting to watch young players get into that environment. You watch film with them and they can’t tell you why that happened. It’s what they refer to as the fog of war.”
On being 10-point favorites against K-State:
“We were underdogs, and that motivated us, the same will be true about Kansas State coming here. It will motivate them. To ignore that and act as if they’re not going to come in here believing and working and excited about making their own statement, then we’re crazy. We have too much experience on our coaching staff to not nail that point home and demand that we improve. It didn’t matter what happened at Tennessee, we need to improve. We need to improve. That’s the entire focus of the week.”
On true freshman quarterbacks having immediate success:
“I kind of hypothesized as I was flying home. I’m noticing, there’s Matt Barkley playing well, and TF for Michigan. No. 1, there’s so much pressure on the quarterback position and gameplans are so predicated toward the starter, that backup quarterbacks if you’re not careful, if you don’t have it really strategized, don’t improve over the course of the season.”
On entering college early:
“The other thing that’s happening is you’ve got a lot of midyear transfers now. I think both of those players joined their teams in time for spring football, as did Richard Brehaut. Now you accelerate the development of a freshman; he’s been not only in the system and learned, but he’s also been indoctrinated into the team. Those kids being given that chance have already earned that. It’s not unheard of to blossom early.”
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.”
A brief run of offensive plays had UCLA coaches fuming early during the scrimmage portion of practice.
First, four defenders chased quarterback Kevin Prince for a loss.
Second, Prince overthrew a pass.
Then, a Johnathan Franklin fumble.
Once more, Another Prince overthrow and finally a Richard Brehaut pass that landed 12 feet from anyone in either white or blue jerseys.
Finally, Brehaut righted the ship with a nice pass to tight end Logan Paulsen, eliciting cheers all over the field.