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UCLA FOOTBALL FYI

Bruins to use two quarterbacks against Oregon State

Coach Rick Neuheisel says redshirt freshman Kevin Prince will retain his starting spot but it's time for freshman Richard Brehaut to get some chances.

October 27, 2009|Chris Foster

UCLA will do the very thing offensive coordinator Norm Chow has always said he was against -- use two quarterbacks Saturday against Oregon State.

That is the stand head Coach Rick Neuheisel took Monday. He said redshirt freshman Kevin Prince would retain his starting spot, but was emphatic that freshman Richard Brehaut would play.

"I am hopeful both will grow and prosper into being accomplished quarterbacks in this league," Neuheisel said. "To not give them both some measure of time while their eligibility is being used, I think that would be a mistake."

Neuheisel said he met with Chow on Monday, two days after using Prince, Brehaut and senior Kevin Craft in a 27-13 loss to Arizona.

"Norm has been in the meetings with those kids, and he believes Kevin is the best bet for us as it stands currently," Neuheisel said. "I don't disagree." But, he added, "It's time Richard gets some chances."

Neuheisel made a similar vow before UCLA played Kansas State, yet Brehaut did not play in that game, a Bruins' victory. After, Neuheisel lamented that was why he should never promise playing time.

But he's done it again.

"We have two young quarterbacks and we'd like to see them both develop," Neuheisel said. "Brehaut deserves time, meaningful time, not just at the end of a game, to prove what he can do."

Prince passed for 311 yards in a 45-26 loss to California but struggled against Arizona, completing seven of 15 passes for 60 yards before Craft replaced him early in the second half. Craft completed six of 15 passes for 75 yards, then was replaced by Brehaut, who completed two of three passes.

Neuheisel said he wasn't sure why Prince had struggled. Prince won the job in the spring, was clearly the team's best quarterback during training camp, and helped the Bruins open with two victories before a fractured jaw he suffered late against Tennessee knocked him out of the next three games.

"I think he's pressing a little bit," Neuheisel said. "I think he feels hurried and presses."

Neuheisel said the same about Craft last season, an opinion he often made clear in animated sideline rants during games. The tantrums have been less frequent this season, but Neuheisel still has taken a heavy-handed approach with Prince, both during games and in practice.

"I just want him to relax and play, but I know when we have chances to complete passes on third down we have to hit them to keep the chains moving," Neuheisel said. "Sometimes it's a protection issue, but sometimes it's about putting the ball where the guy can make a catch."

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Not in the running

Christian Ramirez, who was No. 1 on the depth chart at tailback coming out of training camp, has been told he's no longer in the playing rotation.

Ramirez said he received the news Monday during a meeting with running backs coach Wayne Moses.

"We're just trying to find the right combination," Neuheisel said.

Ramirez started against Arizona because Johnathan Franklin missed a team meeting. But after he fumbled early in the third quarter, Ramirez never played again.

Neuheisel said that on the play Ramirez fumbled he was "dinged up, and may have a concussion."

Ramirez said he is physically fine.

"Coach Moses and I talked about me getting certain opportunities and I didn't capitalize on them," Ramirez said. "He said he will find somebody else."

Ramirez, a junior, was slowed early on because of hamstring and ankle injuries. He has run for 44 yards on nine carries.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

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