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Wednesday, August 31, 2011
It's Prince (mostly) for UCLA

By Ted Miller


Kevin Prince is UCLA's starting quarterback, but Richard Brehaut will play in the opener at Houston on Saturday, which means things are still mostly unresolved at the position at which the Bruins' season might hang.

Of course, if Prince (or Brehaut) is lights-out, we'll have a resolution. At least in the short term.

Prince, a two-year starter, missed spring practices with a knee injury, yet was widely considered the front-runner entering preseason camp. But Brehaut, who started seven games after Prince got hurt last fall, consistently outplayed Prince during the early going, though Prince seemed to shake off rust and play better as camp closed.

"After analyzing and looking at all the different strengths and weaknesses of the two youngsters, I just believe both deserve to play," Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel told reporters Tuesday night. "I've told both of them that I don't know exactly when or how or why or any of that stuff because when you make promises of that sort you end up setting yourself up for disappointment because no one can ever predict the ebb and flow of a game."

Peter Yoon sums up the concerns at the position nicely: "Last season, UCLA finished 116th out of 120 BCS teams in passing offense and Bruins quarterbacks have had more interceptions than touchdowns every year since 2007."

Further complicating the picture, true freshman Brett Hundley also could see action, though he missed much of camp after a knee scope.

Playing two quarterbacks is a tricky thing. It could frustrate one -- or both -- and lead to dissension in the locker room, with factions of players taking sides. It could make it difficult to create an offensive rhythm. And they could become distracted by the situation, looking to the sideline after each incompletion worried about a potential hook coming from a frowning Neuheisel.

It also could cause tension with the coaches, who are working together for the first time.

Neuheisel took over QB coaching duties this spring after he dispatched Norm Chow. Mike Johnson, however, is the play-calling offensive coordinator who also coaches receivers, while Jim Mastro oversees the running game.

That's lots of cooks in the kitchen debating over the main course.

We shall see. A lot is riding on this for Neuheisel.

The LA Times on the QB decision here.

The Orange County Register here.

And the LA Daily News here.