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More Thoughts On Prince's Opportunity To Lead

<em>Photo Credit: E. Corpuz</em>
Photo Credit: E. Corpuz

Let's discuss the decision to name Kevin Prince the starter the week following the end of spring game. I think there could be a reasonable question wrt to why did CRN decide to name his starter at this snap shot of time without any games in the horizon and months to go before summer practice when Prince didn't really light it up during the scrimmages. Well I think there are some reasonable explanations to that question.

First, per the OC Register's Adam Maya CRN made the decision after conferring "several times" with Norm Chow. Second, Neuheisel (and presumably Chow) thinks Prince has the intangibles that makes him a natural born leader:

"There are bumps in the road that come with playing quarterback, whether you're a freshman like Kevin Prince or a Pro Bowler like John Elway," Neuheisel said. "How you handle those situations is part of the evaluation. You have to have big enough shoulders and enough moxie to win games."

Prince's chore begins with off-season workouts, which coaches are not allowed to attend. He said leadership "comes easier when you make plays on the field," but that running the first team in spring practice "did a lot to make me more comfortable approaching seniors and older guys." [...]

"It all kind of depends who the kid is," Neuheisel said when asked about starting a freshman at quarterback. "For some freshmen it is impossible. Others are born to lead. I know Prince is in that category."

As for Prince, he knows he has to make plays on the field, and take charge of the team this off-season. From the Daily News:

"The No. 1 thing I can do right now on the field is to make plays," Prince said. "It's pretty easy to be a leader when you're playing well. In terms of the offseason and being a leader in spring ball and running with the first team, that helped me a lot to get comfortable with the guys. I feel I have a lot of room to grow in the leadership role. It's off to a good start."

I think we can find in Prince's statement the third and the most important faction behind CRN's decision to name him the starter now.  While spiffy statistics during spring practices would have been nice, I think more than anything both Neuehisel and Chow are looking for more than numbers in their quarterback. I think the operative word here is "moxy" and someone who will have the total confidence of his team-mates. A QB can earn that confidence by winning over his team-mates off the field by leading the charge in organizing practices and setting examples through intense hard work . Prince now has the opportunity to make a full court press on that front. By all accounts he was having a decent spring in terms of day to day work outs and his team-mates were impressed with him. Now with the coach's blessing he can really take charge and set the tempo and tone for this off season.

Moreover, I don't think it would have helped the program if we went into summer camp without a QB. A "qb controversy" when a program is going through a rebuilding process is not the most helpful thing.

Lastly, I wouldn't be looking for earth shaking numbers from Kevin Prince his first season. For those who need a quick reminder here are the numbers of number 18 from 1995:

















Looks pretty medicore and it wasn't that much better his sophomore season either (when he threw 16 picks (!)). Yet we knew we had something special in Cade in the way he was leading the team. His confidence was unshakable and he was fearless. It rubbed off on the entire program setting it up for the runs from 1997-99.

I don't think Prince will remind us of number 18. It's kind of silly to dwell upon Prince's scrimmage stats from this year or even get too caught up in his numbers from his first season (unless of course he routinely throws 4 picks per game putting up a 20+ int season). However, I do think he will have the opportunity to exert his leadership this off season, setting himself and the team up for a steady performance that will give us a chance to win some games next season. I am excited to find out what this kid can do.