Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats football: Coaching returning QBs rare for Rodriguez



Pat White was a three-year starter for Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia from 2005-2007, the last time Rodriguez went with a returning starter.

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During fall camp before his first season at Michigan in 2008, Rich Rodriguez confronted daily media throngs totaling more than 30 who asked about the intense quarterback competition between highly-touted redshirt freshman Steven Threet and former walk-on Nick Sheridan.

Rodriguez came from West Virginia, where his spread offense was run to perfection by the fleet-footed Pat White. Threet and Sheridan, both Michigan natives, were welcomed into the program as pocket passers by previous coach Lloyd Carr.

One reporter asked Rodriguez how confident he was about his wide-open offense succeeding with the Wolverines without a quarterback like White behind center. His response:

“I’m pretty confident that I’ll still be coaching here for a while.”

“A while” was only three seasons in Ann Arbor with each of them including a quarterback controversy. No continuity translated into a lack of stability. Before Rodriguez could build a base at the most important position on the field, he was sent packing.

Entering his fourth season at Arizona, Rodriguez will go with only his third returning quarterback in 14 years as a head coach.

He is without a quarterback controversy at Arizona for the first time with redshirt sophomore Anu Solomon in control of the offense. In his first two years at Arizona, Rodriguez started seniors Matt Scott in 2012 and B.J. Denker in 2013 before Solomon beat four other quarterbacks for the starting assignment last year.


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This season marks the first time in seven years that Rodriguez will have the same starting quarterback in consecutive years. That dates to White in 2007. After having White as a starter for three seasons at West Virginia, Rodriguez had six different quarterbacks in as many seasons: Threet (2008), Forcier (2009), Robinson (2010), Scott (2012), Denker (2013) and Solomon (2014).

In only four of his years as a head coach Rodriguez has utilized a returning quarterback, both times at West Virginia. Rasheed Marshall (2003 and 2004) and White (2006 and 2007) led the Mountaineers to a 37-13 (74 percent) record in those four years. In the nine years he went with a new quarterback, including the three at Arizona to this point, Rodriguez’s record is only 64-49 (56.6 percent).

The following slideshow takes a look at Rodriguez’s leading passers in his 14-year major-college coaching career. Please click on the “Next” arrow to get started …

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