UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut quickly came up with three benefits in getting to handle the first-team offense while starter Kevin Prince rests his injured right shoulder.
"Reps, reps, reps," said Brehaut, a freshman. "All these extra practices, where I get to run the first team, are going to help me and get me ready for spring practice."
It has given Brehaut a chance to put a positive finish on a rocky season, even if Prince heals in time to play against Temple on Dec. 29.
"The more snaps he gets, the more he seems comfortable," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "And the more he starts to understand the nature of the job."
Brehaut was earmarked for playing time, and given brief opportunities in games, the last month of the season. He labored through one-series-and-out moments against Oregon State and Washington and didn't get off the bench in the Bruins' final two games.
After the Washington game, Neuheisel seemed to question whether Brehaut understood what it took to prepare at the college level.
"You think you're ready, but you're not ready [as a freshman]," Neuheisel said Monday. "Now he's taking all these reps and he's realizing that you just can't go in there and fake it. You got to know or it you're going to get exposed."
Brehaut claims to have learned that lesson, saying, "When you think you know a defense, keep watching, you'll always be able to pick something else out watching the tape. If you have an error-free practice, that's not enough. You need to have an error-free practice every practice."
Prince is still expected to start the game, but all this extra work is leading Brehaut to a destination.
"I think any extra looks will benefit me when the competition gets started in spring ball," Brehaut said. "I have been able to show the coaches what I have learned thus far and how much harder I'm going to work."
Picking up speed
The first two days of practice have been loose, with an emphasis on young players -- "You get to see who likes to play," Neuheisel said.
The atmosphere will start to change today, as the focus begins to shift to Temple. The Bruins will scrimmage at the end of today's practice.
Senior linebacker Reggie Carter missed practice to finish up work to complete his last class. . . . Wide receiver Randall Carroll was back at practice after being sick on Sunday.