Richard Brehaut will start at quarterback for UCLA when the Bruins play at Oregon State on Saturday, coach Rick Neuheisel said Sunday during a conference call with reporters. It is the first time this season the Bruins will enter a game week with an undisputed starting quarterback.
"I’m of the mind right now that Richard will get the start this week," Neuheisel said, later adding that "We’re going one week at a time. It’s Oregon State week and right now Richard is going to be the starter for the Oregon State week."
Kevin Prince and Brehaut have competed for the starting job since the beginning of training camp, with neither able to claim the No. 1 spot outright. The last two weeks, Neuheisel named his starter on game day. In Week 1, he named Prince a few days before the game.
Brehaut has played in all of UCLA's games this season but has started only one as Neuheisel chose Prince to start the season opener at Houston and again in UCLA's 49-20 loss to Texas over the weekend.
Prince was hurt against Houston and was ineffective against Texas, throwing three first-quarter interceptions, and Neuheisel said Prince might have aggravated the shoulder injury that kept him out of UCLA's Week 2 victory over San Jose State.
After getting pulled out of the Texas loss over the weekend, Prince went to the locker room for X-rays on his shoulder, Neuheisel said, because of a "clicking" he felt in the shoulder.
"I think they are negative, but they were concerned and so we’ll try to get Kevin back to full health and as always he’ll be absolutely totally prepared and he’ll be available," Neuheisel said.
The decision to start Brehaut, however, has nothing to do with Prince's health, Neuheisel said.
"He deserves to play," Neuheisel said. "I thought Richard played pretty darn well [against Texas]. There were some mental breakdowns in the San Jose State game that troubled me, but I thought he was pretty sharp [against Texas]."
Brehaut completed eight of 19 passes for 150 yards against Texas and has completed 37 of 68 passes for 559 yards and three touchdowns through three games. He has not had a pass intercepted. Neuheisel did not go so far as to name Brehaut the starter for the rest of the season, however.
"We’ll play it like always, Neuheisel said. "It’s no different than it’s ever been except Richard is going to get the first snap this week."
Brehaut, when asked Saturday after the Texas game how his approach would change if he were named starter, said he would go about his business the same way he has all season.
"I just have to go into this week of preparation for Oregon State and make sure I’m doing everything in my power to get this team ready and this offense to be ready to be 1-0 in the Pac-12," he said. "If that changes the way I approach the situation, it’s going to go right back to Kevin. I’ve got to stay up, I can’t be complacent because I know there is a quarterback behind me that can play just as well as I can."
Brett Hundley, a highly touted freshman, is also waiting in the wings and Neuheisel said he's still toying with the idea of creating a package of plays for Hundley, but that Hundley isn't ready to take over as the full-time starter.
"I think that would be asking an awful lot of him," Neuheisel said.
He said he has not yet determined whether Hundley will get playing time this season.
"I want to make sure he’s ready to go," Neuheisel said. "It’s one thing to say a guy is ready and it’s another thing to actually be it. I want to make sure that he’s ready. I told him I want him to work this week like he’s going to be ready and we’ll determine whether or not that is the case."