Quarterback Brett Hundley says he is ready . . . no matter what UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel decides to do with him.
Richard Brehaut was named the starter for this week’s game at Oregon State, and received a large chunk of preparation time Tuesday. But Hundley, a freshman, has also seen his workload increase, leaving open the question: Will he or won’t he?
Neuheisel is weighing whether to have Hundley redshirt this year. UCLA is 1-2, and whether Neuheisel will be back for his fifth year has been left undecided by Athletic Director Dan Guerrero.
But Neuheisel takes himself out that equation, saying, “Every decision I make not only has to be what’s best for our team, but what’s best for the individual. If there are things [Hundley] can do to help us as an offense, you have to consider it.”
As to whether Hundley is ready, Neuheisel said, “He’s getting closer.” But, he added, “We would have to use a lot of reps to get the job done fully. You don’t have the luxury of reps when you’re in the midst of a season.”
Hundley graduated early from Chandler (Ariz.) High so he could participate in spring practice. He had minor knee surgery this summer, which set him back.
“When I first got here, I was hopeful I would play, like any other freshman,” Hundley said. Now, he said, “If they want me to redshirt, I’ll redshirt. If they don’t, I’ll be ready to play.”
Neuheisel said if he used Hundley it probably would be only in small doses, with a package of plays. But he said he would have to play the freshman in each game for it to be worthwhile.
“I don’t want to squander a year,” Neuheisel said.
Oregon State has lost to Sacramento State and Wisconsin, but has had two weeks to prepare for this game. The extra time has allowed the Beavers to sort out their quarterback issues
Sean Mannion replaced Ryan Katz during the 35-0 loss at Wisconsin and will start against UCLA.
Oregon State Coach Mike Riley said Mannion was on the verge of taking the job before the season began.
“He had a great spring, where he got all the reps because Ryan could not participate,” Riley said. “When fall camp began, it was clear this was a true competition.”
Katz completed 13 of 25 passes for 104 yards in the first two games. Mannion completed 33 of 50 for 387 yards.
UCLA cornerback Jamie Graham said his timetable has been pushed back two weeks. Graham, a transfer from Vanderbilt, had knee surgery in August. Neuheisel was hopeful that Graham could be back next week.
Kicker Kip Smith, who missed Saturday’s game against Texas because of a hip flexor injury, did not participate in practice Tuesday. His availability won’t be known until game time.
Oregon State, which will have receiver James Rodgers back this weekend, also expects to have tight end Joe Halahuni available. Halahuni has yet to play this season after shoulder surgery. . . . The Beavers will be without defensive tackles Dominic Glover (academic issues) and Castro Masaniai (suspended). . . . UCLA tight end Raymond Nelson missed practice to attend to a family matter.