This bit of news came out last week and rich87 got to it quickly, but we've got a little more on Richard Brehaut's decision to play baseball this summer. For those who missed it, Brehaut joined the baseball team before the 2011 season, although only on a part-time basis. He was a very good baseball player in high school, but hadn't played since his junior season and decided to give the sport a try again. He was out at practice and games, although he did not play, but when spring practice rolled around, he wasn't around the diamond so much and was with the football team.
When he initially decided to play baseball in addition to football he got Rick Neuheisel's blessing and made it clear that football came first. When football and baseball conflicted, he would pick football and he would make sure to get all his throwing work in with his receivers even with his baseball work. It seemed like baseball was just this thing he wanted to get a feel for again.
That all changed when Brehaut decided that he would play baseball this summer too. It's one thing to play baseball for UCLA during the season, but to go as far as putting in the summer work? Well at that point it becomes serious. He's putting in the work of every other baseball player.
The question was raised, is Brehaut committed to football? He's at UCLA on a football scholarship and he's not some guy way down on the depth chart. He's competing for the starting quarterback job. He had an uneven season last year and needs to get all his work in. A guy who is going to compete for a starting quarterback job in the Pac-10 can't have his focus split, can he? Brehaut is making a big mistake and neglecting his football responsibilities, right?
It's not that cut and dry. There is more to it than one or the other so let's take a deeper look at this.
First of all, Brehaut isn't hopping over to baseball because he's got the starting catcher job wrapped up or anything of the sort. He hasn't played a collegiate game yet and his games in the California League will be his first games since junior year of high school.
Steve Rodriguez did sign with the Diamondbacks so the starting catcher job is open, but Brehaut will have to pass up Tyler Heineman, who will be a junior, played in 23 games last year, hit a respectable .261 and is considered a plus defensive catcher. Toss in the possibility of Austin Hedges passing on the pros and he might also have to pass up the top rated catcher recruit in the country. Point is, Brehaut is not going with baseball because it is the easy choice.
Another point in this is that Brehaut is playing locally. He's playing with a team that plays its home games in Compton so he is around. He is attending summer school and is getting up at 6 am to get his throwing in with his receivers. When fall camp starts up, he'll be there for that too. Brehaut is taking the step of playing summer ball and getting games in, but he's also making sure to get all his football work in and he's in summer school. That's pretty impressive.
Quarterbacks also playing baseball isn't so rare either. In the Pac-10 recently Dennis Dixon and Joe Borchard did it. Kyle Parker recently did it for Clemson and many others have done it, including people like John Elway. That's not to say that Brehaut is any of those guys, but quarterbacks playing baseball has been done successfully on both fronts.
Even with all of this, it is reasonable to question Brehaut's commitment to football. Sure, he's getting his football work in, but that time he's spending playing baseball he could be spending getting even more football work in. This guy has a chance to be the starting quarterback of a Pac-12 football team.
Some have speculated that he feels as if Kevin Prince is Neuheisel's guy so he's look elsewhere. It's possible that he feels a little lost without Norm Chow, the guy who was instrumental in bringing him to Westwood. All of that is speculation and nothing more, but it's also just as possible that he's missed playing baseball and wants to get back to playing it.
Whatever his reasons, Brehaut is playing baseball this summer. He's getting his football work in, but then he's grabbing his catcher's gear and bat and heading to the diamond. How this affects his ability to win the starting quarterback job and perform at the Rose Bowl this fall, well, that's a complete question mark.