Second-year quarterback Brett Hundley broke records and expectations last year as he helped to bring UCLA Football from the depths of mediocrity. After a lackluster end to the season, the Bruin quarterback vowed to learn from this and be a better QB than he ever thought possible. His development has come from the meeting of the minds of Head Coach Jim Mora, Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone and QB Coach Taylor Mazzone. Under their instruction, Hundley has worked to improve the body that will lead UCLA to success.
The brain is a collection of intertwined cells, called neurons. The top layer, called the neocortex, controls specific functions such as memories, motor control and sensory, to name a few. In regards to memory, certain neurons are triggered that capture where you were and what you were doing to solidify that memory. Whenever that memory needs to be recalled, those neurons are activated.
Hundley has recently had a lot of neurons intertwine and activate in his progress to being a better QB. He is taking the information from his coaches and stored it for later. You know the phrase “practice makes perfect”? That is you neurons “recalling” what to do in a situation and the repetition makes it concrete in your brain. Hundley, learning from his first-year behind center, has made several improvements in his game because of this. He knows to slide properly when running in the open, he knows how to read defensive formations better and he knows to look for the second, third and even the fourth receiver. The brain is learning.
Muscles are developed and grown with repetitive exercise, specifically activities that push the muscle, like lifting weights. Why? Basically, in intense exercise, muscles are “injured” and the result is the body repairing the muscle. Muscles fuse together and ”thicken” the muscle. Read here for a proper scientific explanation.
In doing these activities over and over, cells are formed at an increasing rate and the muscles that get used in an activity “learn”. This is called muscle memory and it is beneficial that Hundley improve the muscle memory in his arms, shoulders and chest. The fact that Hundley is producing so well in games shows that his muscle memory is strong and almost automatic. This makes it evident that he is putting in the work to improve his upper body to maximize the use of throwing a football. On the year, he is averaging of 282.7 passing yards per game and contributing to the team’s total offensive output of 614.3 yards per game, making UCLA fourth in the nation. Through three games last season, Hundley averaged 275.7. Even small progress is progress.
Legs. Hundley has two of them. As with the muscles and muscle memory in the arms, the muscles in his legs follow the same structure of development. In repeating the process of exercise for his legs, he will start to develop into the type of runner that can be a solid dual-threat. A fourth of the way through the year, Hundley has 157 rushing yards as opposed to a total of 355 yards for the 2012 season. He has also been sacked just 5 times. When you take into consideration that we are a fourth of the way through the season, UCLA, on average, should only allow 20 total sacks, which differs from 52 total sacks from last year.
The heart is the strongest muscle in the body, pumping 1,900 gallons through the body in a single day. Brett Hundley has the heart of a champion.
Hundley showed his heart after he lost a brother in Nick Pasquale. Hundley paid tribute to his teammate on his game towel, the one that he displayed during the victory against Nebraska. There was a lot of heart in that game.
It is ready to play.
UCLA has a bye week and will resume the schedule October 3 at Utah.
Mike W.R., B.A., Psychology ‘03