Two days before UCLA kicks off its Pac-12 season on the road against Arizona State, UCLA Coach Jim Mora insists he still doesn’t know whether quarterback Brett Hundley is going to start.
“We’ll see when we get to game time,” Mora said after Tuesday’s practice. “If he’s ready to go, that’s the guy that will play for us.”
Mora spoke at length about his star quarterback’s health, dismissing questions by deferring to the UCLA doctors. UCLA had a bye week last week, but Mora said that he hasn’t asked Hundley if he’s in pain or not, seemingly a pretty obvious thing to ask a star player who is injured.
“You’ll have to ask him that,” Mora said. “I don’t know. I haven’t asked him. You can ask the doctors, but I don’t think they will talk to you either.”
Despite claiming to not have asked Hundley about whether he is in pain or not, Mora insisted that the health of his players was his No. 1 priority.
“You want to make sure that you’re making the right decision, first and foremost, for the player,” he said. “At this level, these guys aren’t getting paid. It’s not a profession. It’s still a game. I think the most important thing always is the health and welfare of your players. I truly believe that at this level. I believe it at the next level, too, but it’s a little bit different at this level.”
Mora also said that keeping Hundley’s status under wraps wasn’t for strategic purposes, even though Hundley is a Heisman hopeful and his backup, Jerry Neuheisel, hasn’t zero career starts.
“No, they’re not preparing for Brett,” he said. “They’re preparing for our scheme, first of all…it’s not like anyone is trying to pull anything over on (Arizona State coach) Todd Graham, because you aren’t going to pull anything over on Todd Graham. They’re preparing for UCLA, for schemes and plays and tendencies. I’m sure they’re assuming Brett is going to play. That’s what I’d be doing, and I’m nowhere near the coach Todd Graham is.”
Hundley has been in practice this week, with Mora calling his involvement “limited.” On Tuesday, that didn’t seem to matter. Mora seems ready to play the Sun Devils regardless of who is playing quarterback for his Bruins.
“All our quarterbacks can do anything we ask them to do,” he said. “We wouldn’t have to change anything.”
For more Bruin observations, follow Everett Cook on Twitter @everettcook