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Thursday, December 18, 2014 | Last updated: 3:30am

Who should start at QB for Arizona?



Another senior will start at quarterback
By: James Kelley

While UA fans debate the merits of running quarterback versus pro-style and youth versus experience, Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez has a simple goal for the signal caller competition.

“I just want them to execute the offense,” Rodriguez said. “That sounds simplistic and it really is. I want guys that make plays when they are supposed to, execute when they are supposed to and not be stupid.”

For the second year in a row, Arizona is staging a quarterback competition and if history is any indication, senior Jesse Scroggins will get the nod. The signal caller with the most experience overall and in the offense is the safe bet to be in the starting lineup in a few weeks when the Wildcats host UNLV.

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Arizona redshirt senior quarterback Jesse Scroggins runs practice drills during football practice at Arizona Stadium on Saturday. Scroggins could be the third consecutive senior to start at quarterback under Rich Rodriguez.

While Rich Rod went 3-8 his first year at West Virginia and 3-9 and 5-7 his first two years at Michigan, he went 8-5 with bowl wins his first two seasons in Tucson. Both seasons he had a senior quarterback.

Scroggins is the only senior quarterback on the roster and came in with better accolades than 2013 and 2012 starters B.J. Denker and Matt Scott. Yahoo named him the fourth best quarterback transfer that didn’t play last year.

While Scroggins was buried on the depth chart last year, behind Denker, Javelle Allen and Nick Isham, it was due in no small part to his injuries: a concussion to start 2013 fall practice and missing pretty much all of 2013 spring practice with a toe injury.

Plus Denker, Isham (who transferred) and Allen (who was kicked off the team) were in their second years in the system, while Scroggins was in his first.

Scroggins, a fifth year senior, went to USC and El Camino College before coming to the UA and was the No. 6 quarterback recruit in the 2010 class.

At USC, Scroggins was buried under Cody Kessler, Max Wittek and Matt Barkley, who is coincidently now buried on the Philadelphia Eagles’ depth chart behind former Wildcat and Pro Bowl quarterback Nick Foles.

Scroggins is finally getting a realistic chance.

Scroggins also has a rocket for an arm. At the spring game he threw the ball 75 yards in one of the Hard Edge challenges. Without Ka’Deem Carey and with an impressive stable of receivers, the
offense will surely be more focused on passing.

He also has brought an expected element. Scroggins doesn’t run the ball as well as Denker, Denard “Shoelace” Robinson or Pat White did, but he looks more like a dual-threat quarterback than was expected.

Scroggins was usually considered a pro-style quarterback, but he showed off some speed in the spring game.

Freshman Anu Solomon or sophomore Connor Brewer might be the future, but with probably the best receiving corps in the country, the best option for quarterback is the most experienced.

Brewer is the clear choice to start at QB
By: Roberto Payne

After back-to-back 8-5 seasons headlined by senior starting QBs (Matt Scott and B.J. Denker) and a formidable rushing attack, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is left without a starter at QB or RB.

As fall practice begins, Rodriguez’s No. 1 priority has to be figuring out the quarterback situation.
Quarterback is arguably the toughest position to play throughout all major sports in this country.

Not only is one person responsible for 10 other players, a quarterback is, in essence, an extension of the head coach on the field.

The amount of knowledge and skill required to succeed as a QB is astounding, and Rodriguez understands what he needs from his quarterbacks this season.

Among those in the race for the starting gig include redshirt senior Jesse Scroggins, redshirt sophomore Connor Brewer, redshirt freshman Anu Solomon and redshirt junior Jerrard Randall.

Of the quartet, Scroggins and Brewer seem to have separated themselves.

The former highly-recruited QB looked like a stud coming out of high school, as USC signed Scroggins as the 55th best player in the 2010 recruiting class, according to ESPN.

However, things didn’t work out at USC and Scroggins found himself at Arizona last season. He didn’t see any game action but has worked hard to get where he is now.

Scroggins has impressed fans, teammates and coaches alike with his cannon of an arm and leadership in the huddle. However, a lack of accuracy will negatively affect him in this positional battle.

Throwing bullets through a tight window will always draw attention, but Scroggins struggles to take heat off some of the more intermediate throws.

In short, he puts his receivers in a bad position far too often.

Therefore I raise this question: How useful is a quarterback if he can’t get the ball to his receivers in a timely and accurate matter?

The answer? Not very useful at all.

This issue is compounded by the presence of a potentially outstanding receiving corps headlined by redshirt senior Austin Hill, redshirt sophomore DaVonte’ Neal and sophomore Nate Phillips.

On the other hand, Brewer might not have the arm strength that Scroggins possesses, but he has much better accuracy on his ball. Brewer has significantly more touch and doesn’t throw bullets at his receivers on every play.

Brewer, the former four-star recruit from the 2012 class, chose Texas over offers from Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame and Arizona. He transferred to Arizona before last season and, due to NCAA rules, had to sit out the season.

For an offense that should heavily lean on passing for the first time under Rodriguez, having an accurate quarterback is paramount and Connor Brewer is that guy.

—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520 and Roberto Payne @HouseofPayne555


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