Posted by Jerry Hinnen
If there's anything you'd have expected Rick Neuheisel to learn in his star-crossed, injury-plagued tenure at UCLA, it's that he needs to have as many quarterbacks prepared for action as he possibly can; you never know when whatever angry Norse god or gypsy curse that's been shredding Bruin ankles and ligaments the past few seasons will strike again.
That goes double when one of those quarterbacks is Kevin Prince, the junior whose quarterbacking down the stretch of the 2009 season played a major role in propelling UCLA to a bowl game and represents one of the few stretches of competent quarterback play for the Bruins in recent memory. But from Neuheisel's management of the limited Prince and his other quarterbacks at yesterday's practice, you wouldn't know it (emphasis added):
Prince, who was cleared to participate in 7-on-7 drills as he recovers from knee surgery, stood on the Spaulding Field sidelines on a frigid day, waiting, waiting, waiting.
But the reps went to junior Richard Brehaut and freshman Brett Hundley, as UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel forgot Prince was ready to go.
"To tell you the truth, I completely forgot that he was available to go today," Neuheisel said. "He came up, I looked at him and I said, `You've got to tell me, you've got to remind me.'
Just so we're clear on Neuheisel's logic, the responsibility of getting his most experienced, likely most talented option at quarterback involved in quarterbacking drills on the first day that quarterback is available falls on ... the quarterback.
One day of missed drills isn't going to make-or-break Prince's positioning in the Bruins' QB race, of course, much less make-or-break Neuheisel's make-or-break season on the UCLA sideline. But if Neuheisel wanted to prove how tight a ship he's running -- or maintain the best possible relationship with Prince, who admits "it's frustrating" -- missing a not-so-minor detail like which quarterbacks are ready to participate in practice isn't the way to do it.