Kevin Prince Named Starting Quarterback

April 30, 2009

UCLA head football coach Rick Neuheisel today announced he has selected Kevin Prince as the Bruins' starting quarterback for the upcoming season.

"We're going to name Kevin Prince as our starting quarterback," Neuheisel said on a conference call with the media. "It's no secret that he was getting the lion's share of reps with the first team. We just felt like he had requisite skill set to be given that opportunity and we wanted to see what he would do with it. While there were some growing pains, I still believe he showed the necessary poise and the understanding of what Norm Chow is trying to get taught, not only at the position, but also managing the game, that we think there's just a huge upside for Kevin. So we're going to give him the chance to be our starting quarterback and as I told him in the office the other day, this is good news and bad news.

"The good news is obviously everybody who comes to major college wants to be the starting quarterback. The bad news is it comes with a lot of responsibility. As a leader and as a young guy out in the community, you are going to be under a tremendous amount of scrutiny and you just have to understand that's part of the deal, accept it and frankly, relish it.

"I think that he has all of the things you look for. He has great poise. He has size. His arm strength is what you look for. His understanding of the game will only get better and certainly his understanding of our offense will only get better. I'm excited about his progress and I think our team will rally around him.

"I talked to both Kevin Craft and Richard Brehaut also and let them both know that I had not made a decision as to who would be the backup. I want that competition to continue into the fall. It's important that these kids do everything they can to try and unseat Prince because, frankly, that is the job of the assistant coach to try and coach the backup to beat out the starter because that kind of competition will make our whole team better. It's that way at every spot, so I'm anxious to see how they take the challenge and run with it.

"I think we are going to have ourselves a position that we can be proud of. I think we will get the quarterback position back to where we all believe it should be, which is one of nation's finest. I believe we have that in our coach and now it's time to play like that, so hopefully we can do it.

"It won't happen overnight. He's a freshman. There's going to be some growing pains, but I do believe it is the right move and I'm anxious to see how it progresses as we get into fall camp."

Neuheisel also said that an additional reason to name a starter now is that Prince can take a leadership role during the off-season, including organizing the unofficial workouts. "Our players will now know who to look to," Neuheisel said. "It takes a little of the uncertainty out of the way."

The last freshman quarterback to start a season-opening game for the Bruins was Bret Johnson, a redshirt freshman, in 1989. The last time a freshman started a game for the Bruins was the 2002 Las Vegas Bowl, started by true freshman Drew Olson.

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