LINKS FROM DAY FOUR AND FIVE (TUESDAY AND TODAY):
— Wildcats complete morning practice (ArizonaWildcats.com)
— Arizona QB competition: B.J. Denker eager to chow down on the pressure (Anthony Gimino, TucsonCitizen.com)
— Competition intense for Arizona QB candidates (Steve Rivera, FoxSportsArizona.com)
— QBs open up – with talk (Daniel Berk, Arizona Daily Star)
— Arizona Wildcats football: News and notes from day four of fall camp (Berk, Arizona Daily Star)
LINK OF INTEREST:
— A look at Arizona Wildcats QB competition in Pac-10/12 years (WILDABOUTAZCATS.net)
— Brad Rock of the Deseret News asks: Could Utah football be the new Arizona, meaning will the Utes struggle for years without a trip to the Rose Bowl?
QUOTE TO NOTE:
“I hope the coaches realize I’m the smartest guy on the field. I don’t want me to think it; I want them to think that. I know what I’m doing every single play. That’s the big thing. At this position in this offense, it’s knowing what to do with the ball, where to go with it and executing.” — Arizona senior quarterback B.J. Denker, as quoted by Gimino
CONCERN: Arizona practiced in full pads this morning for the first time and UA coach Rich Rodriguez was quoted as saying at ArizonaWildcats.com: “We got a little better in some areas but we didn’t tackle well when we went live so we have to fix that.” The missed tackles are understandable with this morning being the first day in full pads, but anybody who reads this must think back to Arizona’s defensive troubles last season. Keep in mind that Arizona practiced at 6:30 this morning after practicing last night at Arizona Stadium. Rodriguez was impressed, however, with the UA’s energy despite the early-morning wakeup call. “It’s probably a little harder to get them going at 6:30 in the morning but once we got them going I thought the energy was good,” Rodriguez said. “I thought it was really good last night which was kind of expected under the lights but they were all plenty early this morning. We started at 6:30 but we could have started at 6:15 so the guys were ready to go.”
LOOKING GOOD: Rodriguez liked enough of what he saw out of B.J. Denker and Jesse Scroggins to allow the quarterbacks to speak with the media for the first time Tuesday night. The darkhorse in the quarterback competition is Nick Isham, a sophomore transfer from Louisiana Tech. Freshman standout Anu Solomon is very much in the mix, but he is off limits to reporters because he is a newcomer. Rodriguez talked about Isham this morning and it sounded like Isham is deserving a chance to be the starting quarterback when Arizona kicks off its season Aug. 30 against NAU at Arizona Stadium. “He has Division I experience; he started some games at Louisiana Tech,” Rodriguez said. “He is a smart, conscientious guy and it is really important to him. Nick is a guy that will study the film and understand what we are doing and he is a competitive guy. He has some skills and can make some throws so he is in the mix.”
— Sophomore defensive lineman Dan Pettinato (knee) will be out for a “few weeks”, according to Rodriguez.
— Defensive lineman Tevin Hood (knee tendinitis) was limited in practice Monday and Tuesday.
— Defensive tackle Justin Washington (leg) is also limited because he is “hobbled a bit”, according to Berk’s report on Tuesday.
ANALYSIS: Rodriguez addressed the quarterback competition this morning by saying he is open to a two-quarterback system if necessary. “I’ve done it a bunch of times and I’ve subscribed to different theories,” he said. “Some guys might have one guy and ride him but I like to have more than one. I hope to have two or three ready to win with and if they are equal we’ll play them both and if one is better then we’ll play him. I don’t look at that position really any different than the others and that is just me, I’ve played two quarterbacks a whole bunch of times.” Dick Tomey made it work to an extent with Keith Smith and Ortege Jenkins, but at that time (between 1997-99), Arizona was not known for its passing game. Rodriguez’s spread offense is predicated on a high-quality mixture of the pass and run, as evidenced by the performances of Matt Scott and Ka’Deem Carey last year. Arizona has been involved in quite a few quarterback competitions since joining the Pac-10 in 1978. History shows Arizona’s offense is most effective when one quarterback is the leader. Examples include Nick Foles emerging as the No. 1 quarterback over Scott in 2011, Jason Johnson over two challengers in 2001, Dan White over three other contenders in 1993, and Tom Tunnicliffe midway through his freshman season of 1980.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.