Looks like the starting QB spot heading into this game week is up in the air. At least according to Rick Neuheisel's comments printed in the LA Times:
The Bruins have lost four consecutive games and the offense has failed to score a touchdown in two of the last three games.
They were in this same quarterback spot two weeks ago, after a 24-10 loss to Oregon.
Neuheisel said they would "review" the quarterback situation after that game, then said Prince would be the starter a day later.
This time, Neuheisel did not stand firm behind the quarterback who won the job in spring practice.
"We're not angry at Kevin Prince," Neuheisel said. "He's a fine young quarterback. We're asking him to do an awful lot as a freshman. I wish things were easier.
"I wish all pieces around him were flourishing and there was more experience."
More from Jon Gold in the Daily News:
"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."
Either way it is not an ideal situation for Neuehisel and Chow. Neither of them has been fan of two quarterback system:
Neuheisel said he would meet with Chow today, but also said, "There's an old coaching adage that if you're playing two quarterbacks, it means you don't have one."
I have never been a fan of two quarterback system either. I specifically wrote back in 2006 how platooning QBs is a recipe for disaster. However, right now we don't know what we have in Richard Brehaut. I understand that Kevin Prince was clearly the better QB out of spring and fall practices (over Craft and Brehaut). Yet from what we have seen from him during last few games, he is just not getting it done. He also doesn't look "ready."
As for Brehaut none of us can really make the conclusion that he hasn't proven himself during game situations because he hasn't gotten the same opportunity as Prince and Craft. I think the coaches made a big mistake by not giving Brehaut at least 2 or 3 meaningful series against Kansas State earlier this year (specifically after burning his RS during mop up time against San Diego State). At this point we know Prince looks rusty and frankly out of sync. Craft is a known commodity who is the kind of QB who at best can help "manage" the game but cannot be counted on to win it. So, it makes a lot of sense for Neuheisel and Chow to prepare Brehaut as much as they can so that he gets 2-3 meaningful serieses to prove himself against Oregon State. Otherwise, if the offense continues to look listless and uninspiring under two Kevins, it might just spiral into abyss heading into the winnable games in rest of the season. More after the jump.
Another outstanding issue heading into this game was what CRN was going to do with Randall Carroll. It looks like he has made a level headed decision after consulting with Norm Chow:
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 Flintridge recruit Deitrich Riley, Neuheisel said 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."
Again for those who missed it over the weekend, here is what Carroll tweeted:
@driley4 man oregon, stanford, and cal should have been easy wins ,, but shyt thys nigga norm chow dnt be trustin us ,, so it is what it is8:39 PM Oct 22nd
After all this I did some googling and found the actual slur that was used - published reports by the L.A. Times didn't mention it. It was a slur, but it was not a slur that referenced Chow's Chinese ancestry. In fact, it didn't reference any Asian ancestry at all. I'm not going to say it in here for obvious reasons, but it is commonly said in hip-hop and rap music. I'm sure you can figure it out from there.
Does this condone what Carroll did? Of course not, it was a stupid thing to say, especially on a public forum such as Twitter. But I felt that the context of the slur should be mentioned, because it changes the baseline perception of the remark. I don't think Carroll should be suspended for more than one game, if that, but I think he should be running some steps this entire week.
So given the context I think Neuheisel made the right decision (although I personally would have suspended at least for 1 or 2 games). I imagine Neuheisel and his coaches will be working with Randal Carroll very closely to help him mature and grow up in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I do think he is sending the right signal about not over-reacting during a very difficult stretch of UCLA football.