Jedd Fisch looked rested and ready. Year two at the University of Arizona looks much better than it did in year one.
Better players. Better attitude. Better outlook.
And stability at the quarterback position than he did last year when there was no clear-cut favorite at this time last year.
Jayden de Laura is the quarterback and it’ll be his to lose.
“I have all expectations for Jayden to be our starting quarterback,” Fisch said at Monday’s media day before Tuesdays first day of practice for the fall. “And, if that is the case, then he’s going to be the person that takes the reps with the ones (first team). I don’t think that’s really unique to any situation. There’s gonna be times in practice that we might throw Noah (Fifita) or Jordan (McCloud) with a group, but their group will be going in with the twos or the threes and then they’ll rotate … It’s important that Jayden spends his time getting acclimated with getting snaps from a starting center that he gets acclimated with throwing to the same group of receivers that we’re gonna have in season.”
He called it “no big deal” but, it is. Arizona has a starting quarterback something it really didn’t have the last few years since the end of Kevin Sumlin’s time and Fisch’s first year. So, that’s a nice start.
What’s that saying? You have three potential starting quarterbacks means you don’t have one.
Arizona has its one. De Laura is it. Not a bad one to have, either. He’s last year’s Pac-12 Conference freshman of the year. That, in itself, is promising.
“It’s a completely different situation than we were a year ago,” Fisch said. “… We’re in a much different place in terms of where we are with our guys. Now it’s a matter of the process of learning the offense, executing the offense, the process of getting better each day as our quarterback, but I believe Jayden has earned the right to be the quarterback at this point. And to start camp off as the quarterback, he’s had a great success in our conference. And he’s very young, so I’m excited to watch him grow.”
De Laura says he’s ready. The spring camp helped and here he is: the first-string quarterback.
“It’s good … now we can just focus, you know, just go out there (and play),” he said. “(He has to) just lead a team now. There’s no butting heads, but it was like, now I can voice more. You know what I mean? The team can follow me.”
No one may be more excited than Jimmie Dougherty. He laughed when it was suggested he might be a better quarterbacks coach now that he has a slew of better quarterbacks in the QB room, including de Laura.
“He’s continuing to get more comfortable and confident in the scheme and knowing maybe some of the problem areas with the plays and the checks to get into those problems arise and just continuing to grow,” he said of de Laura. “He did a nice job coming in and spring ball and having just a few weeks to prepare for that and was really impressed with his ability to retain and now it’s just continuing to build upon that as we move into fall camp. His confidence in his mastery of the scheme will happen.”