UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince, left, speaks with Coach Rick Neuheisel… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
The big decision is … well, no decision, really.
UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel said Kevin Prince will start at quarterback against Houston on Saturday, and Richard Brehaut would also play.
So, it will be just like practice, with fans wondering when freshman Brett Hundley might get playing time.
"As I told them both, the competition continues," Neuheisel said.
Neuheisel will leave to circumstances when Brehaut would enter the game. Neuheisel said rhythm is important, but "both can play this position well and consistently."
Besides, Neuheisel said, "the perfect scenario for me is for both to play brilliantly."
Prince won the job the last two seasons, but injuries limited his effectiveness. His 2010 season ended with knee surgery and Brehaut started seven games. Combined, they had nine touchdown passes and 12 passes intercepted.
Neuheisel decided after three weeks of competition "it wouldn't be fair to the other if I said only one was playing."
Prince said it was "a little anticlimatic," adding that "of course you want to be named the starter, but that's not the way it happened."
Brehaut said, "Both of us stayed consistent in camp and both of us have the ability to lead the team."
And both were adamant to do "whatever is best for the team."
How this will work remains a mystery. Neuheisel said he won't lock himself into when Brehaut will enter the game and would have no problem pulling Prince even if he had five touchdown passes.
"I can't predict the flow of the game," Neuheisel said. "It won't be anything like what the score is. I want Richard to play and play a lot, as I do Kevin."
With Prince struggling with injuries, Brehaut was promised time in the 2010 season opener at Kansas State. He didn't play. This time, Brehaut said, "I will see significant time."
Prince has demonstrated better skills running the "pistol" offense, particularly the zone-read run game. Brehaut has been a little sharper as a passer.
"I just think Kevin brings a lot to the table in respect to the running game," Neuheisel said. "I think that's where the edge might have landed. But I have full confidence that when Richard is in the game, good things will happen with his arm and legs."
This decision could leave Neuheisel open to rampant second guessing. But the Bruins have somewhat of a trial period, opening the season with Houston and San Jose State, who are far from the top-25 crowd. But Neuheisel said he would have made the same decision if UCLA opened with Stanford.
"I'm not asking them to diminish their goals or diminish their aspirations," Neuheisel said. But until one separates himself, "I have decided both will play."
As might Hundley, the high-end recruit, who Neuheisel said also could play against Houston using a "small offensive package."