UCLA’s current quarterback situation is like a bad experience in a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.
. . . fractured jaw. Go back to page 5.
. . . fell behind in Spring and Summer. Go back to page 5.
. . . 3 interceptions in the first quarter. Go back to page 5.
But this year there’s a path yet untraveled. Not unconsidered (Nestor has some nice recent thoughts here,) but unventured. It is, of course, Brett Hundley, our prize recruit. Despite his objections, he’s widely viewed as our savior. He’s the brightest beacon of hope in the dark place that is currently UCLA football. And right now we could really use some hope.
So do you burn Hundley’s redshirt and lose six games of eligibility along with another 7 weeks of practice?
I say yes.
If Hundley’s as good as expected, he’s unlikely to play four years anyway. Few quarterbacks, even great ones, play before their sophomore years. If Hundley plays this season, he’s already ahead of the curve. Yes, it would be nice to maximize his training, but it may be overvalued. Especially when you consider the more important circumstances.
While the clock stands still on Hundley’s eligibility, it ticks elsewhere. Baca, Carroll, Fauria, and Franklin are all juniors. No matter how great Hundley is out of the gate, it takes time to jell with teammates. Practice reps are good, game reps are better. It would be nice for Hundley to have synergy with the aforementioned before their senior seasons. The clock also ticks for Barr, Evans, Malcolm Jones, Marvray, and Ward. They’ll be juniors. Word is it’s a tough recruiting year. Our most talented quarterback must play with our most talented weapons. If that means now, so be it. We want greatness, not goodness.
Speaking of recruiting, we can’t afford momentum loss in our pipeline. With momentum on the field already gone, losing recruits worsens the issue. I don’t have the patience for that fix. Great weapons want to play with great quarterbacks. Future talent can’t see Hundley when he’s on the sideline.
And let’s not forget this year. Hard to believe, but the Bruins control their destiny to the Rose Bowl. Sounds like a pipe dream until you look at the schedule. Each remaining game is winnable, the toughest being the last at the Coliseum. Hundley could have five games under his belt by then. But to reach the Conference Championship, the Bruins must pace better than the 14-17 they’ve posted since this quarterback adventure began. That’s a good sample size. The stakes support a change. Freshmen can perform at this level. If you don’t believe me, watch a replay of this year’s Texas game.
I was a student in the stands for Cade McNown’s first action. The quarterback situation was tenuous at game time. Injuries forced the freshman onto the field. He wasn’t a star yet, but he had talent and will. He was a spark. Four hours later, there was hope and excitement in Westwood. Four years later, we had experienced some of the best years in Bruin football history.
Many people believe the happy ending of this adventure passes through
. . . fired. Go back to page 3.
That may very well be true. But we don’t know for sure, and likely won’t get there before December. Meanwhile, the clock ticks. We have the talent. It only takes one spark to light a fireworks show. It’s time to play our star QB.
**Thank you, Bruins Nation, for the olive branch.**