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As we noted in our Spring Game Notes, Observations and Grades post, the highly publicized UCLA QB battle has come down to two frontrunners, and they’re damn near neck and neck.
Brett Hundley is the favorite — deemed by popular opinion — and the QB that the fans are legitimately pulling for to take the starting position come September. He was highly recruited out of high school and, when he committed to UCLA, he was thought to be the football program’s savior. At 6’4”, the dude is a monster of a specimen at QB and his legs can do wonders. He’s also got a hell of an arm attached to his shoulders and he’s getting better with accuracy, issues he suffered with early on in this Spring.
Richard Brehaut — the one I would bet on to win the starting nod — was thought to be the dark-horse entering Spring Practice. Brehaut has emerged as one of the two favorites, and people are more than impressed with capabilities. Why I chose him to take the starting job is more about the offensive system UCLA will play in and less about his performance last season, prior to breaking his leg (he threw for six touchdowns and one pick, while completing 55 percent of his passes). He’s not too mobile of a QB, but he’s the more cerebral of the two and is a bit more pocket aware.
Both shined during UCLA’s Spring Game on May 5, with Brett Hundley (predictably) wowing fans with his arm strength and ability to catch the defense off guard with his legs and Richard Brehaut throwing for more touchdown passes and hitting his receivers on target deep down the field (Hundley, it should be mentioned, also was accurate on most of his deep throws). The performance of both was more salient due to Noel Mazzone’s vertical-ass offense that sees receivers stretch the field as much as possible.
This QB competition has dominated the narrative in Westwood ever since the season ended in disappointment back on New Year’s Eve. UCLA hasn’t had a legitimate starting QB since the beginning of time, and with the spirited performances of both Hundley and Brehuat (I’m sort of sad not to include Jerry Neuheisel in this list, because I thought he did a fine job in Spring Practice, and also his hair is like a ray of sunlight), there’s reason for optimism.
Personally? I have my money on Brehaut still. The dude fits Mazzone’s offense — a radical change from the pistol — and Brehaut fits the mold of some very prominent Mazzone QBs (minus the really stupid throwing motion), including Philip Rivers and Brock Osweiler, thanks to his pocket awareness.
Hundley? He needs to work at not being so jumpy in the pocket (this was a small issue, and nothing to be worried about, but is definitely something that needs to be addressed). We’re a little more confident he’ll develop better, too, especially since he’s only a redshirt freshman.
But no one cares what I think. What say you?