The first thing – and perhaps the last thing – Rich Rodriguez didn’t want to happen was for people to believe there is a quarterback controversy when it comes to his team.
Well, good luck with that.
But he brought it up after about four or five questions about his quarterbacks playing the “most important position in football.”Embed from Getty Images
“That’s kind of nice water cooler talk but we try to get everybody ready to play,” Rodriguez said at his weekly press conference on Monday. “Whoever I feel gives us the best chance to win or succeed in that particular drive, or series or half or game, that’s what I go with. It’s not really controversial. I have two guys. Brandon has a little bit (more) experience and I have two freshmen and we will be pushing them as well.”
Translation: Be prepared for whatever quarterback he decides on at the time of the situation. That doesn’t prevent others – the fans – wanting one guy over the other. Just two games into the season, you have people calling for more Tate than Dawkins. And, well, a better Dawkins than a less-tested Khalil.
Rodriguez is just looking for wins. He needs them. Arizona needs them. Friday night looks like a potential one against host Texas-El Paso.
What Rodriguez desperately needs is better play from both. They are trying, he said.
“We got to get better in a hurry,” Rodriguez said.
He does insist the quarterbacks he has are talented enough to be playing the position. Who’s not to agree? Dawkins can run like a deer, but has issues passing. Tate can run over people and has problems with being inexperienced. Half dozen one, half dozen of the other.
Again, good luck with that.
“If everyone is pointing to the reason why we lost was because of the quarterback position there were a lot of reasons,” Rodriguez said. “It starts with the head coaching on down. I have high expectations for the quarterbacks. I always have high expectations. (There’s) a lot on their plate, but they know that or they wouldn’t play quarterback. We have talent there that can play at a high level.”
Rodriguez many of the problems start and end with fundamentals for each of them. Rodriguez said the team addressed that on Sunday night at practice and in meetings.
“We can be fundamentally better,” he said.
That, and, timing.
“There’s a lot to playing quarterback,” Rodriguez said. “For the people (fans) who are out there and saying, ‘bad throw or whatever … if you haven’t coached or played that position extensively you may not see or know exactly what’s going on with it.” Embed from Getty Images
Instead, what they see are errant passes or just bad ones. That’s been the crux of their complaints. And rightly so, given the circumstances. On Saturday, it was the little things that turned out to be big things. One, Dawkins’ overthrow that missed a wide-open Tony Ellison in the end zone that would have given UA the lead and the interception Tate threw near the end of the game that would have also given UA the lead.
“When he’s doing the fundamental things and doing the right thing, he’s pretty good,” Rodriguez said of Dawkins. “He has arm strength. He misses things like all quarterbacks do at times. (But both) just want to make a play and you forget the fundamental part of it at times.”
Still, he understands the questions about his quarterbacks, deflecting blame on them on Monday saying that it was the hardest position to play in football.
“The quarterback position gets highlighted because of the position. They know because it is the position that gets the most scrutinized,” Rodriguez said. “It’s part of the deal … they’re trying.”