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Spaulding Roundup: QB/RB Rotation & Thoughts On Balancing Perspective During These Rebuilding Years Of UCLA Football

Let's start with the quarterback story again in today's roundup. Rick Neuheisel wants Richard Brehaut to get meaningful snaps this weekend in Oregon. It looks like he doesn't want to put him in situations when the outcome is already decided. It sounds like he wants to put Brehaut in situations during which there will be opportunities to grab the momentum via offense. From the Daily News (emphasis added):

"Richard Brehaut deserves some meaningful time, not just at the end of ball games, to show what he can do," Neuheisel said. "Earlier, I said I'd hoped, or I'd like to be able to. Now I'm making sure it's going to happen. I'm going ahead and saying it this time." [...]

"Norm and I have discussed it," Neuheisel said. "He's in those meetings with those kids. He believes (Prince) is the best bet for us as it stands currently. I don't disagree. He wasn't sharp Saturday. I wish he were, but he wasn't. I made a switch. But it doesn't mean I can't go back to him and have confidence in him. I want the young quarterbacks to play without fear of a quick hook. But they also have to play and play well.

"We've got two young quarterbacks and we'd like to see them both develop; I just think it's time Richard gets some chances."

Cannot agree more with CRN on this. Look I get that QB is not our only problem. I get that our wide receivers are not making plays. We are not getting senior leadership from certain guys on our offense. Our offensive line is still developing as it was completely rebuilt from the disaster left behind by Karl Dorrell. However, to me it still starts with our quarterback. Forget winning the game at this points. We need our QB to at least manage the game and take advantage of opportunities when the present themselves.

We just haven't gotten that from Prince or Craft. Prince had a great first half against San Diego State. Then he fizzled out in the second half. He didn't throw interceptions against Tennessee but he didn't exactly light the place up. He showed some signs of life against Cal but was beyond awful against Oregon and this past weekend against Arizona. I think he has the tools to emerge as a good QB. However, at the same time I think Richard Brehaut deserves fair shots to prove himself during in game opportunities as well (not just in situations when the games are already decided or UCLA is looking to make desperate come backs).

I really hope CRN and Chow have special packages in place for Brehaut which he can run coming into either second or third quarter that would fit his athletic abilities. Not sure if its going to help the kid if we ask him to take 5 step drops in slow developing plays when the defense is already teeing off him with blitz after blitz . Anyway, it will be interesting to find out how the rotation is going to work this weekend (even though we are not going to get to see it). More after the jump.

Speaking of rotation looks like Ramirez is going to be out of it:

Christian Ramirez, who was No. 1 on the depth chart at tailback coming out of training camp, has been told he's no longer in the playing rotation.

Ramirez said he received the news Monday during a meeting with running backs coach Wayne Moses.

"We're just trying to find the right combination," Neuheisel said.

Ramirez started against Arizona because Johnathan Franklin missed a team meeting. But after he fumbled early in the third quarter, Ramirez never played again.

Neuheisel said that on the play Ramirez fumbled he was "dinged up, and may have a concussion."

Hope Christian gets to be 100 percent sometime soon. Frankly, I was really surprised to see Ramirez start this past weekend. It didn't make any sense to me given how productive JetSki has been this season. Moreover, where is Derrick Coleman? The kid is our second leading rusher averaging around 5.5 yards per carry.  Where the heck is Milton Knox? Why haven't we seen them in our last couple of games? Our RB rotation has been very befuddling without making any kind of sense. Not just that our running plays have also not shown any kind of imagination in terms of offensive scheming.

Seems like we just keep running the same off tackle plays without taking into account who is at TB. I don't get why we have 5-8, 170lb Damien Thigpen running between the tackle when he comes in. As I mentioned yesterday with Knox, Thigpen and JetSki, it seems like we have the RBs who can get outside and take advantage of their speed. So I don't understand why we are not working up plays that would put them in a position to dart through in open spaces. Meanwhile, on the other side it'd be good to see Coleman in situations when we need to pound the ball and wear out the other team.

Anyway, those are some thoughts that have been going through my head. Honestly I know we are all frustrated and that is natural given a 4 game losing streak. However, like many year I am not close to giving up. Also, I think people here to need to brace for tougher times because I don't expect this weekend to be pleasant either. Plus we have talked about how gruesome the schedule is for next season. Still while we are going to stick with the team and be supportive of our players and coaches, that doesn't preclude us from questioning decisions not making a lot of sense or wonder out loud for explanations.

I get the difficult job of rebuilding CRN and his staff inherited. I mentioned on Sunday that we will not go easy on him in terms forgetting the mild expectations we had set for this season and the reality based expectations for next year. That said we will definitely take into account the improvement he has already made in several aspects of our program. Its clear to me that our OL is getting better and we have better talent among our younger guys. We will be patient and allow our coaches to grow this younger guys while at the same time we are going to wonder about any moves that might seem illogical.

Guess that's part of the drama that is college sports. We are all part of it and I actually think it's fun in some ways to talk all of our issues out in such detail. Speaking of which, I think you guys should take up on the offer from ryebreadaz and ucla13_usc9 to join them in this week's podcast. Specifically those of you who might not agree with their takes from recent weeks (cough***QB decison***cough) might want to call in and make your case on why you disagree with them. :-) As mentioned above, it's all part of the fun and the balancing act that will take place here on BN during these tough rebuilding years of UCLA football.