LOS ANGELES (AP) — Although Kevin Prince has won UCLA’s quarterback competition, Richard Brehaut didn’t exactly lose it.
Prince will start in UCLA’s season opener at Houston on Saturday, but both quarterbacks will play, coach Rick Neuheisel announced Tuesday.
Although Prince will begin his third straight season as UCLA’s starting quarterback, Neuheisel couldn’t choose a clear leader in the monthlong competition. The quarterbacks split playing time with the first-team offense throughout training camp, and both performed up to Neuheisel’s expectations.
“I wanted to create competition during camp, and I wanted to give both kids an ample opportunity to win the job,” Neuheisel said. “Having done that, it was too close to call, and I believe that both deserve to play.”
Prince started 16 games over the past two seasons, passing for 2,434 yards with 13 interceptions and 11 touchdowns. He began camp as the nominal leader in the competition, which Prince credited for pushing both quarterbacks.
“Without having a starter, it pushes us both to be better every day,” Prince said. “Even when we have a starter, that’s not going to change for us in practice.”
Prince has led the Bruins to road victories at Tennessee and Texas during his two seasons, but his progress has been slowed by injuries. He broke his jaw during a game in his freshman season, and he had season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last October.
Brehaut is a two-sport athlete who played baseball at UCLA last spring. He started seven games last season, setting a school record with 33 completions against Arizona State while passing for 1,296 yards.
“We both have experience and have played in big games,” Brehaut said. “As long as this helps the team to win, I am all for it.”
On Monday, both quarterbacks said they felt they had played well enough in camp to earn the starting spot. Neuheisel welcomed a lively quarterback competition for the Bruins, whose passing game was among the nation’s worst last season, ranking 116th among 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Although Prince missed spring practices while recovering from knee surgery, both quarterbacks have spent the past month studying under new offensive coordinator Mike Johnson and running game coordinator Jim Mastro. UCLA’s new offense will incorporate aspects of Mastro’s pistol offense and Johnson’s preferred spread scheme, with Neuheisel getting the final say.
Neuheisel said talented freshman quarterback Brett Hundley could also see early action. Hundley missed part of camp after minor knee surgery, but Neuheisel’s top recruit has been impressive since returning to workouts.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)