UCLA fans should be comfortable if no. 12 comes out of the tunnel as QB1 this Fall at the Rose Bowl. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Want to focus a little bit on (what else) the current state of QB competition this spring. Edward Lewis from BruinSportsReport.com (Rivals.com's refurbished UCLA fansite) had this to say in response to a question posted few days ago:
I think the coaching staff is really pushing for Kevin Prince to be the starter, but of the three in the mix for the position, I'd actually put him in third place performance-wise this spring. I think the coaching staff would also really like to see Brett Hundley take the wheel, but his lows are too low right now to trust with this high-powered offense. Then that leaves you with Richard Brehaut, who I'm not sure the coaching staff was too happy with to begin the spring because of his baseball commitments, but he's probably played the best of them all. While his ceiling isn't very high, his floor is nowhere near as low as the rest of the quarterbacks. If they're going to name anybody the starter by the end of this spring, it should be Brehaut or nobody.
Lewis's observations in terms of QB performance this spring is consistent with what we have been consistently reading in this year's spring football reports (via comments, fanposts and other pieces). After first two weeks not surprisingly the three experienced veterans separated themselves with the other QBs (although it sounds like Jerry Neuheisel has had a pretty decent spring). Among the three it's Prince who has fallen behind Brehaut and Hundley.
There is one camp of thought as expressed by Dave Miller at National Football Post, pushing Mora to start a new era by naming Hundley as the starter:
Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut never could stay healthy and bring consistency to the position the last few years, and the inept offense under coordinators Norm Chow and Mike Johnson is one of the big reasons why athletic director Dan Guerrero made a change at head coach.
As disappointing as the defense played, the offense never gave the team a chance to win consistently.
Prince and Brehaut remain in Westwood and are options to start the season opener, but Brett Hundley is the future at the position.
And it's time that Mora and new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone make him No. 1 on the depth chart sooner rather than later.
As appealing as that sounds, not sure I agree with that. I think I will go with Ed on this one and say that at this point I am more than comfortable if Brehaut finishes as QB1 this Spring (for the time being), with Hundley pushing him as QB2. There are few other factors which makes me more than ok with Brehaut, heading into summer as QB1.
First, I don't think Brehaut ever got a fair shake from either Rick Neuheisel or Norm Chow when he got into Westwood. He got caught in an uncomfortable situation between those two coaches with division of responsibilities murky at best. As a result, Neuheisel rather foolishly burned his red-shirt season and really stunted his development, by putting him in during garbage time against San Diego State in his very first game as a true freshman.
Since then Brehaut kept getting yanked in and out in his first before coaches settled on Kevin Craft as the replacement. They should have kept Brehaut as a redshirt and stayed with the rotation of Prince and Craft.
Second, I have never been comfortable with UCLA coaches resenting Brehaut for trying out for the baseball team. I just didn't get it given Brehaut did everything the coaches asked him to do in terms of football responsibilities, without missing any spring practice. I do get that Brehaut screwed up after this past regular season when he got suspended for the bowl game for unspecific violation of team rules. That was his major hiccup. Otherwise, he has always been a pretty good team-mates.
It appears to me Brehaut's skillset is tailor made for Noel Mazzone's horizontal passing attack. It's also the offense he ran in high school where he emerged as one of the best QB prospects in the country. In some ways a Brehaut/Hundley combination in the best of world could work out, how it did for Florida when Urban Meyer decided to go with senior Chris Leak as QB1 while using Tim Tebow in specific situations with special offensive packages.
I get the appeal of wanting to go with Hundley now. But from reading the reports, I don't get the sense he has dramatically overtaken Brehaut. It's not the same as chatter I used to hear in late 80s/early 90s when stories were coming out about a certain true freshman QB from Texas, outshining both Brett Johnson and Jimmy Bonds at Spaulding Field.
It is still too early to tell what Mora is going to. We have just few practices left and I am not sure if there will be a dramatic turnaround in the current QB dynamics. But I am more than comfortable with the way it's shaping up. I am actually excited to see what Brehaut can do if he is given a chance to lead as QB1 heading into his senior season with Hundley waiting in the wings. I think it's the combination of Brehaut and Hundley that will represent a true fresh start at the QB situation at UCLA.