Quarterback battle: Solomon vs. Dawkins
Who is the best option at QB for 'Cats?
Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon (12) gets ready to pass during a game against Utah on Nov 14, 2015 at Arizona Stadium.
The case for Dawkins:
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Brandon Dawkins physically looks the part of a big-time quarterback. At 6-foot-3, Dawkins stands tall in the pocket, is athletic and has an impressive arm. You may say he is a poor man’s Cam Newton ... very poor.
What Dawkins lacks that Newton—NFL MVP quarterback of the Carolina Panthers—has is the cut-throat mentality that great quarterbacks have.
Dawkins has been a little off in the glimpses of practice and even the annual Beanie Bowl, which was more of a walk-through than anything else.
However, there is no doubt that Dawkins has more potential than any other quarterback on the roster. His gifts are undeniable, but is his mind where it needs to be?
Despite early nerves against ASU last year, Dawkins completed 16-of-30 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns, but tossed two late interceptions that proved to be the difference.
He did demonstrate poise, good decision making and toughness as he ran a score in with the game out of reach. That performance alone is what fans of Dawkins are pointing to when detailing why he should be the starter. Some would even argue that Dawkins provides Arizona with a higher ceiling due to his more dynamic versatility.
If this season happens to be Dawkins’ time, he had better capitalize, because this could be his last shot at the starting job.
The case for Anu:
Redshirt junior Anu Solomon is the clear favorite for the starting quarterback job for one reason: experience. Solomon’s game-time experience is something that cannot be simulated.
He has played in several big games during his career and is primed for a break out season in his third year running the Rich Rodriguez offense. Solomon has shown issues with accuracy and consistency during his career, but do not forget that he led the Wildcats to a 10-win season, a top-10 ranking and an appearance in the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl just two seasons ago.
Dawkins appears to have the athleticism required to be a successful Pac-12 Conference quarterback, but it’s hard to peg him the starter with such minimal experience.
Solomon has had injury issues throughout his career, but has an experienced offensive line and a strong relationship with his three senior receivers. He is in a prime spot to return to his 2014 form.
Solomon alongside junior running back Nick Wilson for the third year could prove to be the one-two-punch RichRod had at West Virginia with Pat White and Steve Slaton.
Dawkins showed flashes during the ASU game, but he also made some costly mistakes. This UA team does not have the kind of depth to overcome crucial errors.
The UA needs to rely on its upperclassmen for stability, making plays and leading this team through the season from beginning to end. Solomon has had plenty of big game moments and the kind of potential that could lead the UA to another Pac-12 South title.