The Arizona Wildcats were much better than anticipated in 2012 under first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez. Much of their success can be traced to the breakout season of senior quarterback Matt Scott, who turned out to be the perfect fit for Rodriguez’s system after struggling to find a role in the previous regime’s offense.
With Scott’s graduation, the Cats will be looking for a new signal caller for 2013, but don’t expect them to find him during spring practice.
That’s because they aren’t likely to see their next starting quarterback this spring. The perceived favorite for the job, former USC Trojan and JUCO transfer Jesse Scroggins, will not be participating in spring practice following foot surgery.
Rodriguez said it was an issue he probably needed to have fixed earlier in his career and that he could have played through it, but the coach would rather have everyone “100 percent in August” rather than risk him tweaking it this spring.
That opens the door ever so slightly for some of the long shots for the job to make an impact on the race. B.J. Denker was Scott’s backup in 2012 and is the only quarterback on the roster with any experience in Rodriguez’s system.
That experience gives him a bit of an advantage, though he’s not considered dynamic enough to run the offense as a starter. Rodriguez, though, is “anxious to see how much better he got in the spring,” so he will have the coaching staff’s attention.
He’ll have to make the most of it before Scroggins returns in August and before the arrival of super-recruit Jarrett “Anu” Solomon.
The dual-threat quarterback out of Las Vegas, Nevada, could be the prototypical Rich Rodriguez quarterback that the coach has built his career on (i.e. Pat White with the West Virginia Mountaineers, Denard Robinson with the Michigan Wolverines). Many predict Solomon has the ability to start and make an impact during his freshman season.
But for this spring, it’s Denker, along with Javalle Allen and Nick Isham, who will get the opportunities this spring. Don’t expect Rodriguez to commit to any of them, however, before he sees his newer, more highly-touted quarterbacks in the fall without a Herculean effort this spring.