Number 12 needs a real shot to show what he can do beyond Oregon.
So for second straight day Kevin Prince sat out practice. Apparently (according to Rick Neuheisel in the video after the flip) Prince also had a second MRI this week, which was done by the same physician who performed ACL surgery on him while he was at Crespi High School. The results are not available yet and it now looks all but certain that Richard Brehaut is going to get his second start during his young career at UCLA.
While we are doing our best to remain realistic about our non-existent chances tomorrow night (I think the line is around 24 points and it has been going up towards Oregon's direction in last 24 hours), it is very important to keep in mind that whatever happens in this game shouldn't be held against Brehaut. IMHO it is extremely unfair to expect from any kid, who is barely making his second start in his second year at college level without a dependable OL and WRs, to put together a solid performance. So I sure hope Norm Chow doesn't hold it against Brehaut, if the situation gets out of hand for the Bruins early on during Thursday night (apparently we will able to watch the nightmare unfold in 3D, thanks a lot tWWL).
At this point, I think it is unclear at best whether Prince will be ever able to put together an entire season at UCLA without getting hurt. This is not an indictment against Prince in terms of his heart and dedication to our program. He is as good as a student athlete can get at any level in terms of representing our school with class and grace both on and off the field. However, at some point Chow will have to make a decision on which he QB he needs to coach up as the long term bridge to the next QB prospect (Brett Hundley) to UCLA. Now that Prince can't go due to health issues and seems like will take a while to heal up, Chow needs to commit to fully developing Brehaut over the course of multiple games (not just against Oregon).
Not only should Brehaut start on Thursday night, IMHO he should also get the nod in starting against Arizona at the Rose Bowl, so that coaches get a better idea on what he could do against Pac-10 opponents that don't represent the extreme ends of spectrum in Oregon and Washington State. IMHO it would not be fair if Brehaut is send back to bench, after what likely will be a disaster against Oregon not because of QBing issues, but over all circumstances pointing overwhelming in Duck's favor. While we are not sure what we have in Richard Brehaut yet, we certainly hope neither Chow nor anyone else associated with UCLA draw conclusions based on a mission impossible task in Eugene.
Coach Rick Neuheisel showed confidence in Brehaut yesterday saying "nothing is too big for Richard" and that he is "not concerned" about Brehaut being "overwhelmed":
Interestingly CRN talked about the importance of Bruins being able to withstand onslaught of emotional surge and momentum shift against the Ducks. He essentially said that Bruins cannot panic even if they get down 14-0 early (like they did against Cal). I imagine in the background CRN is saying something different to his players.
As a coach, I don't think I would want the guys even thinking about envisioning falling behind 0-14 early. If anything Neuheisel and his coaches should be thinking with the mindset of how they can attack and punch the Ducks first, instead of waiting to get hit in Eugene. If the Bruins are looking to battle by reacting and by hanging in there with the Ducks, it is going to be another disaster. Plus no one is really going to care much about "moral victories" in a game that Ducks controlled the outcome from the beginning to end.
As for Richard Brehaut here is a video of him talking to reporters on Monday (via Jon Gold):
He doesn't sound all that worried about when the coaches are going to name a starter. He has the mindset to be "ready" no matter what the situation is. At least his interview skills are impressive in terms of the maturity and composure he displayed while the reporters were trying to bait him into answers that would generate cliché QB controversy type of headlines.
As for how Brehaut led UCLA offense is going to perform against the Ducks, Dale Newton from the Duck Stops Here (a pretty cool Oregon football blog) posted some interesting stats re. how other RBs have performed against the Ducks defense this season:
23 carries 162 yards to Tennessee's Tauren Poole, his season high, with a long run of 39 yards, his season high
11 carries 127 yards to Arizona State's Deantre Lewis, his season high, with a long run of 53 yards, his season high
17 carries 113 yards to Stanford's Stepfan Taylor, his season high, with a long run of 44 yards, his season high
11 carries 50 yards to Washington State's James Montgomery, his season high against FBS competition, with a long run of 26 yards, his season high against FBS competition (he ran for 116 in the Cougar's lone win, against Montana State.)
Something to think about, but keep in mind at least three of those backs (the ones from the Pac-10 conference) were complemented by solid production from their QBs. As Newton provides in the same post here are how the QBs from ASU, Stanford and Washington State performed against the Ducks D:
I think if the Bruins were to have any shot tomorrow night, Brehaut will have to somehow come up with 150-200 yards of passing offense. He will have to keep the Ducks defense honest and get them to loosen up at least a bit. Otherwise, there is just no way Jet Ski, Derrick Coleman and Malcolm Jones will be able to replicate what they did against a Texas team that was clearly looking ahead to the Sooners and Huskers. Doubt the Ducks are going to make the same mistake even though their fans might be looking ahead.
(On UCLA's quarterback play changing if Kevin Prince is banged up and Richard Brehaut plays): You know, you don't really know. Richard Brehaut hasn't played a ton. It's tough, I think. I know from our standpoint, if you've played six weeks running a certain offense and now your quarterback's changed, the other 10 guys haven't changed, so I think they'll still run the same offense. Depending on who the quarterback is, obviously you'll call some plays certainly, but it will be within the scope of that offense. But I don't anticipate if Prince can't play that they're going to come in and throw it 75 times on Thursday night. I think they'll still try to stay the course. But obviously Brehaut and Prince are a little bit different.
Apparently Kelly's Duck's could be without 3 defensive starters - tackle Zac Clark (groin), end Terrell Turner (toe) and cornerback Anthony Gildon (ankle) - on Thursday night. I doubt that is going to have any kind of impact on tomorrow night's outcome. It might make the score 47-21 instead of 54-7 in favor of the Ducks or something.