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Thursday, October 30, 2014 | Last updated: 11:12pm

Back to the field: spring football set to begin



Arizona football spring practice starts March 3.

To launch the 2014 spring football season, head coach Rich Rodriguez held a brief press conference.

He addressed the key issues leading into his third spring practice as the Wildcats’ head football coach, such as having nine potential quarterbacks competing for the starting job.

Injuries
At this time last year, the Arizona training room was littered with football players. Team leaders such as linebacker Marquis Flowers, cornerback Shaquille Richardson and receiver David Richards, as well as many others, spent more time in the training room than on the football field. To make things worse, No. 1 receiver Austin Hill tore his ACL during the middle of the spring football schedule.

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By Tyler Baker/ The Daily Wildcat / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez walks through the Wildcats' stretching formation during a practice. Arizona begins spring football practices Monday, and with them the process of determining a new starting quarterback and a new No.1 running back.

But return to the present day and the injuries are far less of a problem. Hill, who will be a redshirt senior next season, will wear a brace on his knee during spring practice, but Rodriguez said he is 100 percent healthy and the brace is just to be safe.

That being said, Rodriguez and the Wildcats will be without potential starting running back Jared Baker, who is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered on Nov. 30 at ASU.

Starting quarterback
For the fourth year in a row, Arizona will open its season with a different starting quarterback. And to make the battle for starting quarterback more interesting, last year’s back up, Javelle Allen, was dismissed from the team in December.

Rodriguez has a lot of options to choose from, but don’t expect him to make a decision on who the starting quarterback will be at any point during the spring.

“They can develop a pecking order from spring, but then it will start all over again in August,” Rodriguez said. “We won’t have a starter after spring, and I’m not really concerned with that.”

Replacing Ka’Deem Carey
Not much needs to be said that hasn’t already been said about Arizona’s greatest running back of all time leaving for the NFL. What Rodriguez did say, however, was how big of a loss second-string senior running back Daniel Jenkins will be.

“We knew we were going to get production from [Jenkins],” Rodriguez said. “Now it’s a mystery.”
With Carey and Jenkins gone, Baker is now the only running back on roster with any previous playing time at all.

Baker’s timetable for his return is still unknown.

Key Injuries

OL Carter Wood (foot)
S Antony Lopez (shoulder)
WR Nate Phillips
(shoulder)
DL Kirifi Taula (concussion)

*All players will be limited

Quarterback candidates

RSo. Connor Brewer
Fr. Brandon Dawkins*
RFr. Adam Friederichsen
R.Jr. Nick Isham
R.Fr. Khari McGee
R.Jr. Jerrard Randall
R.Sr. Jesse Scroggins
R.Fr. Anu Solomon
*Won’t join team until summer

Running back candidates

RJr. Jared Baker
RFr. Pierre Cormier
RFr. Zach Green
Fr. Johnathan Haden
RSr. Terris Jones-Grigsby
RFr. Myles Smith
Fr. Nick Wilson*
*Won’t join team until summer

Key Dates
March 3: Start of spring practice
March 6: Arizona’s Pro Day
April 4: Practice at Phoenix College
April 12: Spring game 1 p.m. at Arizona Stadium

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella


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