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[Updated] Followup Thoughts on UCLA’s QB Competition …

Over at Tracy Pierson has posted a great article about the ongoing QB competition.  Tracy has the following thoughts on Rick Neuheisel's decision making process (the article is not behind subscription firewall at the time this post is being published):

We said earlier in the week that, if Prince had a good week, more than likely Neuheisel would go with him. Neuheisel has confidence in Prince in so many aspects of the offense, but we think the coach needed to see it this week - the week before game prep - to make himself feel good about naming Prince. So far, on Monday and Tuesday, Prince has accomplished that. He'll have to continue with that today and Thursday, and in the team's closed scrimmage at the Rose Bowl on Friday. If he does, we're pretty confident Neuheisel will name Prince the starter.

The way the reps are going in practice - with Prince getting the bulk with the 1s -- that certainly seems like a very strong indication.

But, as we said earlier in this piece, the one last factor that the coaches don't have as a piece of evidence in their decision is how Prince and Brehaut will do in the games. If you go by past history, Prince has under-performed a bit, seemingly not making that transition from practice to a real game very effectively. Brehaut, on the other hand, as we've said in the past, is a gamer. He seems to rise to the challenge of the game, actually performed better in games last season than in practice, and has that kind of in-game swagger that is needed, particulary for a quarterback. It wouldn't be far-fetched to foresee Prince being named the starter against Houston, but if Brehaut gets an opportunity it will be interesting to see if that gamer element might ultimately be the deciding factor in who is the #1 quarterback for the season.

I get the sense that many are still having anxiety over this decision. I still think it's not really worth getting all that worked up over because of the points Tracy made above.

I think no matter who is anointed the starter after this week, he will be on a short leash. We have laid out solid arguments on behalf of both QBs here on BN. While huge majority (64%!) of this community including yours truly may wish for Brehaut to be starter, I think Neuheisel will have more than reasonable justifications to go with Prince, if he continues to put together good performances at Spaulding this week. There will also be a closed scrimmage on Friday at the Rose Bowl, which should give Neuheisel and coaches more data to go over.

Whoever gets the start against Houston will probably have to produce results right away in his first two or three series. If he cannot get it done, Neuheisel will not hesitate to go with the other guy. In many ways, I think this approach will be beneficial because Neuheisel will no longer be shackled by the approach of the previous offensive coordinator who came from the school of thought of picking one QB and then sticking with him.

While I have never been a fan of platoon system, there have been instances where programs have had success using multiple QBs at least to start the season, before settling on a starter based on in-game performances.  Urban Meyer did it with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. Lloyd Carr did it with Drew Henson and Tom Brady. Steve Spurrier didn't hesitate to platoon his QBs (Jesse Palmer and Dough Johnson) while he was in Florida. Bobby Bowden had his share of success by platooning QBs. I can go on and on. So I don't think it will be end of the world if Neuheisel names Prince the starter but keeps him on a tight leash and bring in Brehaut as soon as he deems it necessary.

I also think the first three games should essentially serve as pre-season competition for this QB competition, which has been a pleasantly intense affair to date. After those three games, the coaches hopefully should have enough information to decide who they can go with during the conference process. So for our part, let's hope all of our QBs stay healthy and we eventually settle into a regular starter based on their elevated performances after the non-conference season is over.


UPDATE (N): I am sure we will have more on this in tomorrow's roundup. Peter Yoon based on this morning's practice comments just blogged Neuheisel's comments about "not ruling out" the idea of using both QBs in our season opener. More interestingly are the comments from our QBs being receptive to it. Here is Brehaut:

Presented with the idea, Brehaut said he would be "all for it" if that's what the coaches wanted to do, adding that they certainly seem to be well-prepared for such a situation.

"We’re switching every three plays right now, both getting equal time with the ones," he said. "It would be pretty much the same thing we do in practice."

And then Prince:

Prince said that if Neuheisel decides to go the alternating direction, that he and Brehaut would "make it work." He added that there would be some advantages to using both quarterbacks on game day, specifically making teams prepare for two different looks.

"In terms of running the ball, I think that I bring a different aspect than Richard does," Prince said.

[HT Bruin Dad and Grad]

Can't help but rooting for both of these guys. GO BRUINS.