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Richard Brehaut has been effective..... when given the opportunity
UCLA has been going through a quarterback controversy...for the last three years.
Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut competed as freshmen in 2009. Kevin Prince won out, and played okay despite breaking his jaw, suffering a concussion, and separating his shoulder. When he was healthy, the job was his, and the Bruins went 7-6 and won the EagleBank Bowl against Temple, 30-21.
Last year, Prince was oft-injured again, being unable to practice fully in September before being lost for the second half of the season entirely. Filling in for Prince was Brehaut, who played well down the stretch, but not enough for the Bruins offense to fully click.
Fast forward to training camp in 2011, and there was a full on battle for the starting role. Despite having seen what each QB can do over the course of two years, Neuheisel was indecisive. He decided that both QBs would play in the season opener against Houston.
This plan never really came to fruition, however, as Prince was injured early in the game. Brehaut played great, throwing for 264 yards and two TDs, and adding 87 yards and one TD on the ground, but the Bruins came up short 38-34. The next week against SJSU, Brehaut led the Bruins to the win.
After the SJSU game, Prince was cleared to play. Despite the performance of Brehaut, who was considered to be at least a co-starter regardless, Neuheisel opted to start Prince. Prince threw three interceptions in the first quarter before being pulled.
Does that rationale make any sense? If Prince and Brehaut were considered equals and Neuheisel was going to go with the "hot hand," why would he wait for Prince to throw three interceptions before yanking him? Why was Prince given the starter job back in the first place?
Needless to say, after falling down 21-0, UCLA lost to Texas. Neuheisel then named Brehaut the starter against Oregon State, and UCLA won.
Football teams thrive on consistency in every area of the game, whether its the play of the quarterback, defense, kicking, etc. Realizing that QB is the most important position in the game, it is safe to say that your quarterback has to be consistent for your team to be successful.
Injuries throughout the year are one thing, Neuheisel cannot help that. But he let the the quarterback controversy spiral out of control this year. That is his own doing, and it may be the nail in his coffin.