Spaulding Roundup: UCLA Quarterback Competition Turning into a 2-Man Race

Jim Mora After UCLA Spring Practice #12 (via UCLA)

The big development from yesterday's practice came from the post-game media session with Coach Mora. On Friday, gbruin noted that Isaiah Bowens suffered a knee injury during Thursday's practice, when he was hit by a teammate's helmet. Hopes were that further medical examination would find no severe damage, but the news was not good.

UCLA linebacker Isaiah Bowens tore his ACL on Thursday in practice and will undergo surgery in the next couple of weeks, coach Jim Mora said Saturday.

... Bowens suffered the injury during a play late in team drills Thursday. He crumpled to the ground after taking a helmet to his knee and then hobbled off the field.

"I couldn't even watch the video of it," Mora said. "He took a shot on that thing."

In our preview leading into spring ball, we saw Isaiah in more of a depth role than as a key playmaker in the coming season, but particularly with the shift to a 3-4 base D, a role of value to this team. Having taken a non-injury redshirt during his 2009 freshman season, he will lose a year of eligibility as he misses this one, and after his knee heals and he completes the needed rehab, Isaiah will be able to return in 2013 as a redshirt senior. Best wishes to him for an uneventful operation and a smooth rehabilitation.

While Bowens and Librado Barocio have suffered season-ending injuries, Kevin Prince has been working through a sore shoulder over the past couple of weeks.

The injury is not thought to be serious, but Prince was severely limited Saturday, taking only about a half-dozen reps in live team drills while Brett Hundley and Richard Brehaut each got about two dozen.

"His shoulder is a little bit dinged up, but he's fine," Mazzone said. "That's why I backed off on him a little bit."

While Mazzone noted that the soreness has been present over the last few practices, it only led to him being limited in practice on Saturday. Practice reports - from yesterday as well as throughout the Spring - have painted Kevin as the #3 man in the 3-way race at QB. He has never really led the competition during these sessions, but this injury certainly hasn't helped his case to earn the starting job.

The sore shoulder has clearly hampered his performance. Over the last week, Prince appears to have fallen behind in the quarterback competition because of a series of bad throws and interceptions. He has lost velocity and accuracy on his throws and has been throwing with an awkward shotput type of motion.

While Prince keeps falling behind in the 3 men QB competition this spring, Brett Hundley keeps moving forward. Let's get to that exciting development after the jump.

Hundley reportedly had his third consecutive day of "quality practice" yesterday. According to Chris Foster of the LA Times, the Hundley train gathered more "momentum" on Saturday:

Hundley completed seven of 11 passes during a 24-play stretch with the first-team offense. That included a 28-yard touchdown pass to Shaquelle Evans. He displayed elusiveness, escaping pressure three times to make positive gains, including scrambling five yards for a touchdown.

Hundley also ran the first-team offense during the two-minute drill, moving the ball to the three-yard line. A wide-open Evans dropped a pass on fourth down. Hundley sprinted to Evans, not to berate but to encourage.

The extended time was important because "It's easy when you know you only have five plays and then you're out," Mazzone said. "We gave him and Richard [Brehaut] an elongated course of plays in a row. It's easy when you know it's only five plays and you're done. Now it's third and three and 'Am I'm making the right decision to keep us on the field?'"

Both Mora and Mazzone are keeping their "poker" faces on as usual when asked about QB questions. It appears though that the UCLA QB competition may be coming down to a two man race rest of this spring ball. There isn't much of it left with just two more practices and the final scrimmage coming up next weekend.

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