Arizona football head coach Rodriguez addresses quarterback competition, defense
In the first press conference of the season, head coach Rich Rodriguez once again refrained from announcing who will be the starting quarterback against NAU this weekend.
He did, however, hint that senior B.J. Denker was ahead in the battle for the starting position.
“B.J. Denker was a frontrunner coming in,” Rodriguez said. “In the beginning of camp it was a mix, and in the last week or so B.J. has gotten better. He’s still the frontrunner but we’ve got a few more practices before the week is over.”
Rodriguez also noted that four players have been getting reps in the QB spot, including true freshman Anu Solomon.
“With the inexperience we have, it’s an ongoing competition,” Rodriguez said. “We treat this position like the rest of them; rolling guys in and getting them a lot of reps. Whoever the best one is at game time gets the start.”
The quarterback contenders may not live up to last year’s quarterback Matt Scott, but they have shown improvement and that they are capable at the position, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez also announced during the press conference that the squad has remained relatively healthy as a result of less hitting during practices.
This adds depth because fewer players are injured, however, practicing without hitting has proved difficult for the defense, according to senior defensive lineman Tevin Hood.
Hood said he knew the offense was happy about less hitting, but personally, he was upset.
“You go full speed but you have to tone it down because you don’t want to hurt people,” Hood said. “With no contact, you can’t really play defensive or offensive line, so that was just something we had to get used to.”
The Wildcats will open the season this Friday against NAU at Arizona Stadium. Kick-off will be at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.
UA football also released its first depth chart of the season, with starters for positions such as quarterback, kicker, linebacker and slot still to be determined. This competition results in better performances from the players, Rodriguez said.
“If you want to elevate the performance of the guys, bring in competition,” he said.
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