Brett Hundley (17), Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
If you’ve ever seen the movie Vantage Point, this article is going to be a little something like that—so bear down and bear with me. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically the tale of a crime observed from many different perspectives, or vantage points. We’ll be looking at the idea of UCLA having a clear starting quarterback early-on in Spring, and how that affects the team as a whole. To stick with today’s theme, you’ll be seeing the story from all sorts of vantage points.
As far as the coaches are concerned, knowing who their starting QB is will give them a chance to focus on other aspects of the game—or help that starter further develop as a player. It also allows them to have less clouded thinking. I can’t say for sure, but chances are that in years past, as the media swarmed coaches with QB questions, their thoughts were fuzzed and overwhelmed. It might make things easier to have such a massive media focus reduced to nearly nothing. It also allows for better one-on-one interaction. Rather than needing to prepare three or four players and choose just one, the staff can work closely with Hundley and help him not only meet, but exceed expectations.
Let’s face it. The relationship between a QB and his receivers may be the most important relationship on the field at any given moment. From returning players like Shaq Evans and Devin Lucien to redshirts and incoming recruits, the Bruins wide outs can build on their quarterback’s tendencies and create a smooth flowing play style in which each and every one can feel comfortable in his own shoes. From blown plays to play action, decision making and errors should be significantly reduced with the same face leading the huddle all Spring.
For a lineman, it’s beyond important to know what your QB can handle, and what you need to help him with. Some dual-threat backs, like Michael Vick or in this case Brett Hundley, can evade pressure and throw while rolling out or tuck the ball and run. The linemen can take gambles accordingly. They can also learn weather or not Hundley throws better rolling left or right, in the pocket or out, or whatever combination you can think of. By having consistency and knowing what to expect, they can block in whatever way best helps their offense steamroll their way down the field.
RBs, HBs and FBs
One of UCLA’s strengths last year was the relationship between Hundley and RB Johnathan Franklin. The special bond allowed for the execution of what was, in my opinion, the best zone read in the nation. Nobody, from cameramen to linemen, could tell whether or not Hundley actually handed the ball to Franklin. The Mayor knew exactly when to expect a decision from Hundley, and Hundley knew exactly when to expect Franklin to just take the ball and bolt. It was the reason for countless red-zone touchdowns, not to mention first downs and so on. A strong foundation for the backs to work with is unmatched in terms of value on game day.
In all, there’s really no arguing how huge it is for UCLA to have its starting QB lined up. It seems, for the first time in a decade, that the Bruins have a foundation to work from this offseason—and it all starts under center.