Hundley competing for QB reps at UCLA
Every morning, Brett Hundley wakes up, looks at his phone and sees a message.
It reads: Master my craft today.
He's more capable of trying to do that today than he was as an early enrollee at UCLA last year. Today, there are less distractions.
Much like UCLA fans rejoiced earlier this week when Shabazz Muhammad signed with the Bruins hoping to recharge the basketball program, they did the same for Hundley last year.
Chants of "the savior" sang throughout Westwood for the first five-star quarterback to ever sign with the Bruins.
It was a bunch of noise throughout Westwood and one huge distraction for Hundley.
"Last year, I think there was a lot of distractions as far as 'the big savior coming in' and stuff like that," Hundley said. "It was just a lot, a lot of stuff going on and I was just getting adjusted to college."
Hundley was given the savior tag from the UCLA faithful the moment he stepped on campus. And from that moment, he tried mightily to rid himself of it.
"When I got here I was trying to shake it," said Hundley of the label. "But for the most part, everything settled down. ... I'm just another guy out here trying to get a spot."
The UCLA starting quarterback job is once again up for grabs, which would be similar to last spring – Hundley's first in the program.
The day he stepped onto campus, he was thrown into a quarterback battle with Richard Brehaut and Kevin Prince last spring. Hundley held his own, showing flashes of what the Westwood population was so excited about.
At the end of spring, the battle was incomplete, and it was supposed to carryover into the fall.
The competition continued, but without Hundley. He was left behind after undergoing knee surgery which caused him to miss the first two weeks of fall camp. It was an obstacle he was unable to overcome, leaving his season surrounded by questions of "Will he or won't he redshirt?"
There was talk about him having a package of plays similar to Tim Tebow during his freshman season at Florida. They were never seen. And neither was Hundley. The decision was made for UCLA's savior to redshirt.
This time around, Hundley feels he's better equipped to handle a quarterback battle. He's in new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone's offense, which he feels is better suited for him.
"I like this offense so much," Hundley said.
Most importantly, he's found some peace in his situation after ridding himself of the dreaded savior distractions.
"This year, everything's calm, everything's clean and I'm used to college life and I can be 100 percent focused on the game, and I know what I'm doing and I feel comfortable with the speed of the game and I'm just happy to be here and happy to be able to come out and compete every day," Hundley said. "(I) have a big fire under my butt to get that starting position."
To add fuel to that fire, from time to time, he'll turn to any one of his assortment of motivational speeches by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
"He has a lot to say and he is one of my favorite inspirational speakers," said Hundley of Lewis. "He can talk, and he talks truthfully."
Truthfully speaking, Hundley began the spring as one of six quarterbacks trying to separate themselves as the starting QB. However, he doesn't view it as a competition with five other guys, but rather a competition with himself as he tries to master his craft.
"I'm just focused. I'm trying to get better every day," Hundley said. "I'm never perfect in practice, but I try to be."
If he masters his craft, he could win the spot.
If he wins the spot, he just may start to hear those savior whispers resurface this fall.