- Peter Yoon, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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UCLA freshman quarterback Brett Hundley went through a full practice Monday -- the first time he has done so since undergoing knee surgery last month.
Hundley, who tore the meniscus in his right knee playing pickup basketball in June, did all the same drills as fellow quarterbacks Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut, even running the first-team offense several times, but coach Rick Neuheisel said it might be a little late in the game for Hundley to enter the competition for the starting job.
"I think that would be a reach right now," Neuheisel said. "He has not had enough work nor experience to be included in that conversation, but I’m not saying he won’t get a chance to play. We need to see exactly what he’s capable of doing."
Hundley, a highly-touted, dual-threat quarterback who passed for 2,348 yards and rushed for 856 last season, graduated from high school early and enrolled at UCLA last January so he could participate in spring football and try to earn the starting job. He said he still hopes he can make an impression before the season is over.
"I’m always here to compete," Hundley said. "But I’ve just got to be patient. That’s the one thing my family tells me. I missed camp -- I can’t sugar coat that any, but I’m always here to compete and when my opportunity arises I’m going to take it and I won’t look back."
There are several possibilities for Hundley this season. He could simply redshirt and learn the college game or he can continue to try and earn the starting job. But the most intriguing possibility is that Neuheisel will install a package designed to take advantage of Hundley's skills and use him on a part-time basis.
"I think that’s probably the right way to say it, but how extensive that package is depends on him," Neuheisel said. "I don’t have to make that decision now. I’m going to saturate him with as much work as I can and see where he is a week from now, 10 days from now, and then we’ll make the decision as to what is the prudent thing to do with respect to his playing time."
As far as the first day went, it was a mixed bag. Hundely looked pretty good running the offense and had a couple of nice runs and some nice passes down field, but also looked a bit rusty in the throwing game. that was to be expected for someone who hasn't played against a live defense in four months.
"It felt good," he said. "The knee felt good. For a first day, I can’t complain with my reads. The mental reps helped a lot. I’m on the field, things are going a lot better and I’m just happy to be competing."
The best part, he said, was that he was able to turn the corner and take off on a couple of runs and felt no ill effects in his knee.
"The legs are amazing," he said. "I haven’t ran on them in a while so they were itching to run so when I got the chance and got around the edge I wanted to see what they could do."
3dChantel Jennings and Kevin Gemmell