Cowboy Up

Brehaut Time? (photo credit: dabruins07 (flickr))

It looks like wsmontano1994 already articulated some of the same thoughts I was going to share with regards to playing without Kevin Prince in next few weeks. I will try to build on it. The most important thing we can do right now is not to mope over it. This is football. It's part of the game. It happens.

I will go back to one of the inspirations of starting this blog back in 2005. It wasn't just the ineptness of Karl Dorrell which got me blogging here on BN. I also wanted to have a place where all UCLA alums, students, and fans could come together and rally just like the Red Sox "Nation" started to do back in 2003, finally brushing back the ghosts of Babe Ruth in 2004.  I couldn't help but admire the "Cowboy Up" mindset the entire Red Sox Nation adopted back in 2003 when they didn't allow any of the protypical season or game setbacks get them down.

Well one thing I have noticed is that Red Sox fans (pre 2004) and UCLA fans (especially UCLA football fans) have lot in common. Often times at the first sign of adversity, UCLA fans tend to go with "here we go again," "woe is me," mindset about the football gods being against us. Guess I can't blame folks after what OJ did to us, Eric Affholter's non touchdown, Timm Rosenbach breaking our hearts, and then refs in Miami stealing the game on December 5, 1998. Seems like we can never enjoy our prosperity because right when everything seems to be coming together, somethings goes off track again. No doubt Saturday's win was one of the biggest victories in recent years, setting us up well for meeting our goal into getting into a bowl game. Then it followed up with the tough news from Sunday night about Kevin's injury.

Fortunately I didn't see any of the "here we go again" nonsense in the comment threads here on BN. Folks are being as resilient about it as our team was in Tennessee. I actually think this will work out ok. It will allow Richard Brehaut, who happened to be one of the most heralded quarterback recruits in the West Coast (if not the country) to get into college action, something which he has prepared diligently for years, while forcing our OL and rest of the team to focus even harder by the time we get ready for brutal Pac-10 games. From what I saw in this team last Saturday, these guys are going to "Cowboy Up," and it's imperative that rest of the Nation adopt the same mindset.

It looks like Kevin is going to be out for 3-4 weeks:

"It's 3 to 4 weeks but I know that he'll heal quickly and come back as soon as he can," Neuheisel said.

If it is three weeks, Prince could return after missing only two games. The Bruins are scheduled to host Kansas State on Saturday but don't have a game scheduled for the following week. They'll begin Pac-10 play at Stanford on Oct. 3.

LA Times reports he had surgery last night.  While this puts the team in a tough spot, Coach Neuheisel talked to reporters about the resliency of his football team wrt to dealing with injuries:

"This is a different edition of UCLA football," Neuheisel said. "We're going to weather it. We weathered the Aaron Hester injury a week ago. I think these guys are resilient."

He also was coy in terms of who will get the start against Kansas State:

"(Offensive coordinator Norm Chow) and I will talk and watch practice and go from there," Neuheisel said. "You've got an experienced player in Kevin Craft who has played a lot of football. You've got a kid who played pretty well in a brief stint against SDSU. We have a lot of confidence in Richard Brehaut - he was a big-time recruit and he's proven he belongs at this level. He didn't look nervous (against SDSU), he went out and he played well. And I've seen enough good things from Kevin Craft to know we can go out and play fine."

I think that is the exact right answer. No need to give anything away before the game week officially gets started.

Let's recap again what we have in Richard Brehaut. The kid was a SuperPrep All-American, rRanked No. 6 among pro-style quarterbacks by rivals.com, and rated No. 9 quarterback by scout.com. In case people needed a reminder here is what we excerpted about Brehaut back in August of 2008:

At 6-foot-1, Brehaut might not possess the prototypical size of top-five national quarterback, but his great mental intangibles like competitiveness, intelligence, toughness and moxie are difficult to measure on paper. Aside from his great leadership qualities and field presence, the No. 34-ranked national prospect is no slouch in the physical and skill department as a quarterback either. He has a live, accurate arm and gets rid of the ball quickly with good timing. Brehaut's ability to make plays with his legs and throw well on the run masks the coveted few inches he lacks at the position, in our opinion.

He had entire Southland buzzing after he exploded into the recruiting scene right before his senior year (and he went on to have a great one. He then ofcourse enrolled early this past spring quarter so that he could play Spring Ball. Unlike Losman, he thrived in the atmosphere, got embraced by his team-mates, and moved up to number 2 in the depth chart. Then when he was inserted into the San Diego State he looked fairly effortless completing both of his passes for 39 yards.

Also, I thought about my post from yesterday about questioning CRN's decision to roll out Kevin Prince on that 3rd down play from the end zone. The more that I thought about it, the more I kind of liked the call. It was the ultimate non Dorrellian call if you really think about it. He basically rolled out Prince for a call looking for an open TE or receiver and getting a first down and ending the game. Yes, it was a little more risky than just barrelling up the middle (ala Notre Dame in South Bend). But he played to win. Of course utlimately the SEC refs killed us with two horrible calls in one play (missing the fact that he had passed the goal line and that the defender had hit Kevin with his helmet). Still the more I think about the call, the more I like it because to me it shows the killer instinct and courage that has been missing in this program for almost a decade.

In other words, there is no need to freak out. We are not going to have a Law Firm trying to play D-1 QB at the Rose Bowl. Times are different. I fully expect our coaches to prep Brehaut, Craft and Crissman this coming week without taking anything off our game plan. I think Brehaut and Craft will be coached up to manage the game and get it done behind an OL that looks more athletic and capable than what we had last year, and better players at offensive skill positions. Plus we have a pretty decent defense and special teams to help out on their ends. We are going to be ok. I don't have high expectations in terms of what Brehaut can do. He is a true frosh after all. However, I am excited to see him start. He is going to be first UCLA QB since Cade McNown to start as a true freshman (provided he gets the call this week) and I get the sense he is ready for it. I am pretty sure the coaches and the entire team will be ready to Cowboy up. Time for us to do the same.

GO BRUINS.

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