Spring Review: Quarterbacks

Brett Hundley faced no challengers, but the competition between Asiantii Woulard and Jerry Neuheisel appeared a bit stiffer than we might otherwise have expected...

For just the second time in seemingly forever, this spring we weren't faced with a starting quarterback controversy. For the second straight year, Brett Hundley was an incumbent with no challengers, as it should be. Hundley had a good spring, and looked like he'd made some real improvement since the end of the season, with a slightly tighter motion and a bit more zip on the ball. His decision-making looked like it had improved somewhat as well, but there were still a few times per practice where he'd hold onto the ball a bit too long in the pocket. That said, it's clear he's making strides in that department, and it'll be interesting to see how much more improvement he's able to make by San Bernardino after he's had time to digest the film from the spring.

The actual interesting competition at the position, though, was between the primary challengers for the backup to Hundley: Jerry Neuheisel and Asiantii Woulard. Heading into the spring, and through the first week or two, we felt pretty strongly that unless Woulard looked like he had regressed considerably, he should win the backup job since he's a more likely candidate to win the starting job in 2015 than Neuheisel. Two factors went into us changing our opinion. First, while we'd be reluctant to use "regressed" to describe Woulard, it's probably fair to say he hit a plateau in his development. Second, Neuheisel actually has improved since last year, with a slightly stronger arm and clearly a better understanding of the offense and his skillset.

Brett Hundley.
Right now, if UCLA were to play a game next week, the backup looks like it'd be Neuheisel. Despite a two interception hiccup in the spring game, he was steady all spring, and made much better decisions with the ball than he had the previous two years. Woulard, as we talked about in the early reports, looks like he's making some adjustments to his throwing motion, and from what we saw, it's still a work in progress. We're actually a little surprised that he's changing his motion, since he had a good one last fall, but this spring he looked like he was cocking the ball right behind his ear rather than the smoother, slightly longer motion he had last year. His footwork was also a little off at times, which led to the ball sailing over the heads of running backs on swing passes and on downfield throws.

That's just the bad part, though. When Woulard was on, which was at least half the time, he was sharp, and could hit every throw. That one sequence in the spring game where Tyler Scott dropped two perfectly thrown sideline passes on roll outs was a good demonstration of what Woulard's potential is. As of now, there's a bit too much inconsistency in his game, but, if the light comes on over the next few months, he could blow past Neuheisel and secure the backup job midway through San Bernardino.

Mike Fafaul was his usual self this spring, looking once again like he had the best throwing motion of the bunch. As we've said for his entire time at UCLA, he's a talented walk-on, and is a valuable asset in the quarterback rotation as a backup and scout team quarterback.

Our Best-Guess Depth Chart for San Bernardino:

Quarterback
Brett Hundley
Jerry Neuheisel
Asiantii Woulard
Aaron Sharp
Mike Fafaul

Our Wild, Ill-Advised Guess at the Depth Chart for Virginia:

Quarterback
Brett Hundley
Asiantii Woulard
Jerry Neuheisel
Aaron Sharp
Mike Fafaul

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