Freshman quarterback Brett Hundley will work into UCLA's offensive game plan slowly this season by running a limited number of plays early on and expanding that package as the season goes on, coach Rick Neuheisel said Friday after watching Hundley in live action during UCLA's scrimmage at the Rose Bowl.
Hundley, a dual-threat quarterback who was the centerpiece of UCLA's recruiting class last winter, is recovering from July knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee so he hasn't been able to compete with Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut for the starting job this fall.
But since his Aug. 22 return, he apparently has been impressive enough to force Neuheisel into figuring out a way to get him on the field.
"He’s going to be that quarterback that has a package of offense and as he plays that package will expand, much like a [Tim] Tebow at Florida or a Terrelle Pryor at Ohio State," Neuheisel said. "We will see how much he can grasp, but today was fun to watch him out there feeling it a little bit."
Tebow and Pryor both began playing limited action as true freshmen. Pryor eventually took over as Ohio State's starter, but Tebow was used mostly as a running quarterback and in goal-line situations for his entire freshman season before taking over as starter as a sophomore.
Hundley (6-3, 210) was supposed to be in the mix for the starting job this fall after he graduated high school early and enrolled at UCLA in time to participate in spring football. He injured his knee in an offseason pickup basketball game, however, and fell too far behind in training camp to beat out Pince and Brehaut for the starting role.
Now, however, it appears he will play at least on a part-time basis, though Neuheisel wasn't certain that would begin with UCLA's Sept. 3 season opener at Houston.
"I’ve got to make sure that he feels 100 percent healthy before we put him out there, but he’s certainly close to that," Neuheisel said.
UCLA's scrimmage Friday was Hundley's first live action since the spring scrimmage, though quarterbacks weren't allowed to be hit during the game so that made it more difficult to judge just how well he performed. Still, Neuheisel came awy impressed, singling out a Hundley 15-yard touchdown run as one of the day's highlights.
"He looked good in handling the offense and handling the signals and machinations that go with it," Neuheisel said. "It wasn’t error free, but certainly a guy that looks like he’s going to be a big-time player at some point."