Of course, Rich Rodriguez has a list of things he requires for being one of this quarterbacks.
He’s seen one from former coach Bill Parcells, who had about 11 or 12 things on the list, and only two of them were physical traits, Rodriguez said.
One, you have to be able to throw and the other was you had to be able to make plays. The rest were the intangibles. Rodriguez had just a few.
“That’s the thing we really had to get better at,” Rodriguez said last month as his team broke camp for this season. “All our guys can throw and they all have athletic ability. But being a quarterback because the position is so unique … all the intangibles have to be better than everybody else’s.”
Some days are better than others – as junior Brandon Dawkins has proven. Still, he remains Arizona’s starter and will remain that way until, well, he’s not.
But the two that Rodriguez speaks of most – at least in the interview – were how his quarterback prepares for the position and his leadership skills.
“You have to know what everybody does,” Rodriguez said. “You have to see the global view of the defense shows with every snap. It’s about his mannerisms and how he takes charge, knowing the down and distance, knowing everyone is set and there’s an urgency to prepare.”
Against Utah on Friday is another test and it’s a constant work in progress.
This week when asked again, he said you have to be able to throw it and make good decisions, and make those decisions “decisively and on time.”
Dawkins said it’s his impression Rodriguez is looking for his quarterback to “see the field and make the checks I need to to get us in the right play. Just execute.”
The most mentioned trait would be “to be decisive and don’t hesitate on a throw or hesitate on a run.”
“There’s a lot on their plate and we coach them pretty hard,” Rodriguez said. “We put pressure on them during the week so the games are easier. I think all the quarterbacks will tell you all the practices are more intense than the games. It’s to get them ready for the games.”
Dawkins smiled when he heard that – because it is very true.
“I always try to make it tough on myself,” he said. “I always take practice like it’s a game. You never want to go out there on a Friday or Saturday and turn it all the way on finally. You want to be already read to do that. Practices for me are more mental, dealing with the dude up there (Coach Rodriguez), just trying to get on the same page as him. Bumping heads, having conflicting ideas about things and trying to see the same things he’s seeing and understand that.”