Spring Preview: Quarterbacks

For the second consecutive year, UCLA has no quarterback controversy, as two-year starter Brett Hundley attempts to begin his Heisman campaign with a solid spring...

UCLA's starting quarterback situation has rarely been as solidified as it has been over the last two years. Brett Hundley, the two-year starter, made the decision to return to school this past offseason for his redshirt junior season, giving UCLA some much-needed consistency at the position after years of tumult.

It's not as if Hundley is just a guy, either. His play over the last two years has generally been somewhere between above average and exceptional, depending on the game. There have been a few anomalies here and there where he hasn't been effective for a variety of reasons, but make no mistake – Hundley is the best quarterback UCLA has had in a long, long time.

In addition, the Bruins already have hope of a successor to Hundley in current freshman Asiantii Woulard. The talented quarterback made strides during his redshirt year and, with another year of development, should be in good position to challenge (potential) incoming freshman Josh Rosen in 2015 for the starting job once Hundley moves on.

A Look at Spring

No position on the team is more set-in-stone than quarterback. Brett Hundley is the starter, and barring injury, he will remain the starter for the entire season.

Perhaps the most interesting part of spring, though, will have nothing to do with Hundley, and everything to do with his backup. Heading into last season, we had significant worries about quarterback depth, with Jerry Neuheisel never projecting as a full-time starter, T.J. Millweard still a long way away from contributing, Mike Fafaul likely in the same boat as Neuheisel, and an incoming freshman in Asiantii Woulard who we hadn't seen and couldn't make any realistic projections for.

It took about a day of fall camp for at least some of our worries to be alleviated. From the first handful of throws Woulard took in San Bernardino, it was obvious that UCLA had at least one contender for the starting quarterback position down the road. Woulard showed progress during the season, but the leap between the first year and the second year is usually a significant one for quarterbacks, so we'll be very interested to see how he looks starting April 1st.

What to Watch For

-- What improvements has Hundley made? If you were to nitpick Hundley over the past two seasons, you'd say that decision-making is an area where he needs to improve, specifically in terms of making quick decisions. To be fair, in this past season, the offense was more complex, requiring Hundley to deal with longer progressions, more complex reads, and deeper drops. He struggled at times, particularly during the toughest stretch of the season at Oregon and at Stanford. By the end of the season, though, he seemed to be improving. If we had to guess, we'd expect to see a much more comfortable Hundley heading into this spring, and we'd imagine that it will be evident over spring and fall camp how much he's grown as a quarterback over the last few years.

Asiantii Woulard.
-- Is Woulard the heir apparent? Woulard was the revelation of last fall camp, looking like he had the physical talent to be a potential pro at the quarterback position. He had a good redshirt season mostly running the scout team, and looked like he'd made some progress in the UCLA offense during bowl preparation. Hundley made a huge leap between December of his redshirt season and the following spring practice. If Woulard has made a similar leap, we could be in for a very exciting battle between he and the quarterback who will commit to UCLA today.

-- Who will win the backup competition? Jerry Neuheisel was the backup last year, but Woulard has much more physical talent. Neuheisel, though, is heady, as he showed during game play last year. This competition may not be decided in spring, but we'd bet a large wager that Woulard will win it. Even if he's not necessarily ahead of Neuheisel in terms of understanding the offense at the end of April, his upside and potential to start in 2015 would likely force UCLA to try to get him as much work as possible with the offense, in both games and practices.

Projected Depth Chart for Spring

Brett Hundley
Asiantii Woulard
Jerry Neuheisel
Mike Fafaul

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