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Spring Football: Majority Of Reps Will Initially Go To Prince & Brehaut

There is some important news from an update on the "state of the UCLA quaterback" from Bruin Report Online. In that update written by Robert Kuwada (who used to be the UCLA beat writer for the OC Register) it appears that red shirt freshman Kevin Prince and incoming freshman Richard Brehaut will get the majority of reps at least initially during spring practice (article not behind subscription firewall at the time of this post):

[W]hile Craft remains confident that he can improve in a second season in the offense and working with coordinator Norm Chow - a luxury, given only one player (Marcus Everett) on that side of the ball last year had ever played for the same coordinator in back-to-back seasons - the majority of reps initially will go to redshirt freshman Kevin Prince and freshman Richard Brehaut.

"It's to get those kids some chances so we can find out what they can do," Neuheisel said. "We haven't established a pecking order yet, but we want to give those kids some chances early on at the expense maybe of some of the other guys just because there aren't enough reps to go around, so that we can find out and give ourselves the best film to evaluate which is the direction to go in the latter part of the spring.

"We've got to give ourselves the most amount of information we can have to make the best decision for the football team and, as I've said to the quarterbacks as well as our coaches, it's not always going to look fair. It's not. But it's how we're going to arrive at getting the right amount of information to make the best choice."

What I like about CRN's statement in this case is how clearly he lays out his plan for assessing his QBs. Going into practice next week there will not be any guessing game in terms of exactly what the coaches are doing wrt allocation of reps. It's clear CRN and Chow will give Prince and Brehaut every chance to move up to the top spots in the rotation. We can't really blame them given the amount of trouble Craft had this past season. Craft still deserves nothing short of admiration and praise given the way he took all the punishment in what basically amounted to a throw away season. However, going into next year coaches must find out what they have in these two kids. Also keep in mind coaches have plenty of film of Kevin Prince to evaluate from. While they have nothing on Prince and Brehaut. So giving these two majority of reps the first two weeks so they have a decent amount of data points to evalute makes sense. So their plan to given Prince and Brehaut majority of the reps is totally understandable.

For his part Prince sounds comfortable:

"There are specific things we're supposed to look for based on coverages that we see, or in the run game, different fronts that were supposed to check out of if we see them," he said. ''It's just making sure that we understand what to do in certain situations. Coach Chow's thing, and Coach Neuheisel's thing, they always harp on us to make sure you have a plan before you get to the line - if you see Cover 4 do this, if you see Cover 3 do this. You have to have a plan.

Prince said: "I feel very comfortable with it. For the last half of the season I was running the scout team, so I wasn't able to do that much in practice, but I was still in all the meetings and was in for all of the installation, watched film with all the quarterbacks. But for the first part of the season I was kind of in that second- or third-string spot, so that if Kevin had been hurt or something I wanted to make sure I was prepared. That first half I was really grinding just to make sure I understood what was going on, and that has carried over to now. I feel like, with a season's experience, I have a firm grasp on the offense."

And Brehaut is not feeling any pressure:

Brehaut, too, is looking forward to an opportunity to compete for the starting job. He completed his senior-year class work at Los Osos High in one semester in order to enroll at UCLA and participate in spring practices. "I'm not going to worry about the pressure of living up to all the hype," he said. "I'm just going to be me, play some football and do whatever I can on the field, whatever I have to do to make my team get that first down and score some points."

Also, somewhat in the mix are QBs such as Forcier and Crissman. Although Crissman will be brought along very slowly given he is recovering from a surgery and by all accounts it still sounds like coaches are waiting for Forcier to play more like a quarterback than an athlete.

Going back to Prince and Brehaut, here were CRN's specific comments addressing the reason behind his decision to give them most of the reps in first two weeks:

"The traditional way is that the incumbent gets the first reps and all that kind of stuff, but for the guys who are behind, it's very hard to go by somebody without playing in the same situations and with the same players," Neuheisel said.

He continued: "So, to at least give ourselves the most amount of accurate information, we're going to try to play those two younger guys a lot early just to see if they're ready. There is a reason to make this really competitive and so forth, because we've gotten a chance to watch the other guys a lot over the course of the past year - not to say that they can't improve - but just to get an idea where everybody is before we start creating the competition for that pecking order."

Again it clear to me Neuheisel has a plan. He sounds like the first UCLA football coach in years who can clearly articulate exactly what he is trying to do and where he wants to take the program. I never heard Donahue, Toledo (forget Dorrell) laying out their plan for a season (forget spring football) like he does. It's yet another reason that has me optimistic about the future of this program in the coming years.

Can't wait to hear how these two kids look starting next week.