The quarterback competition has been the big story throughout UCLA's preseason camp this year and with only 10 days to go before the season opener, coach Rick Neuheisel acknowledged the possibility exists that he will not declare either Kevin Prince or Richard Brehaut the winner before UCLA plays Houston on Sept. 3.
"I'm not ruling out both playing in the game," Neuheisel said Wednesday after practice.
That thought has crossed the mind of more than one practice observer as Prince and Brehaut have split reps equally for most of camp and Neuheisel has not hinted one way or the other on who was performing better in practice.
The past couple of days, however, Prince has spent more time with the running game while Brehaut has focused more on the passing game. The general consensus is that Prince has a better handle on the run game and is a better runner while Brehaut is better in the passing game.
Neuheisel said none of that means anything about how they plan to use the quarterbacks come game time. If both play, they could each get a half, they could alternate quarters or series or maybe even play based on the situation.
"I haven’t thought long enough about it to get that detailed," Neuheisel said. "I’m just saying that they are both working hard enough to deserve playing."
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."
The biggest adjustment would be that neither has played a game under those conditions before. Prince has been the starter the last two seasons and has come out because of injury. Brehaut has relieved Prince because of injury and also started seven games--including the last six last season after Prince had knee surgery--but never have they alternated.
"Having us both play would be a little difficult, not knowing when you were going in and when you were going to play," Brehaut said. "I’m sure that would be game-planned out. "Of course, you would like to be the guy and be in there the whole game. But I don’t think Kevin and I would have a hard time adjusting."
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.
Neuheisel wouldn't be the first coach to employ the alternating-quarterback strategy. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier has routinely employed the two-quarterback strategy dating back to his days at Florida. Mike Bellotti did it with Akili Smith and Jason Maas in 1997.
In the NFL, the Miami Dolphins were one of the league's elite teams in 1982 and '83 with Don Strock and David Woodley splitting time. But Neuheisel, who coached at Colorado and Washington, said he's never employed a two-quarterback system before.
"I've never had two returning starters before," he said.