Thanks for stopping by today to chat some Arizona Wildcats football. There's already some good questions waiting, so let us get started!
by Daniel Berk 10/24/2013 7:01:32 PM
I think the QB competition will be WIDE open when spring drills start. I think Allen and Solomon will both get a good luck as will Texas transfer Connor Brewer, who is redshirting this year. I think those three will be the main candidates, but if a guy like Jesse Scroggins sticks with it and has a good spring, he could jump up in the competition. Brandon Dawkins, a 2014 recruit, who will arrive in the summer has the size (6-4, 210) to at least have a chance to be successful early. It was something Solomon, who is much smaller, didn't have an advantage with.
by Daniel Berk 10/24/2013 7:04:19 PM
He's still playing on the team's third-down unit as a pass rusher. I think the UA coaching staff is still excited about him and his future, but he's certainly not having as big of an impact since the UA has gotten into league play, which isn't a huge surprise.
by Daniel Berk 10/24/2013 7:05:27 PM
The senior loves to scramble, there's no question about that. But in my opinion, he is certainly developing and improving as the season goes on. To me, it's pretty amazing the amount of production the coaching staff is getting out of Denker, who was never really meant to be a starter in the Pac-12. He was brought in to be Matt Scott's backup and then likely the backup to whoever won the job this year, whether it was Scroggins or Solomon. But he won the job fair and square and has gotten better each week. He'll never be a top-tier quarterback in this league, but he's good enough to give his team a chance in most games.
by Daniel Berk 10/24/2013 7:08:55 PM
Tedy! You spelled your own name wrong! But I'll still happily answer your question. I think a 7-5 prediction is fair for where they're at right now and what's left on the schedule. If the UA does finish at that mark, the Las Vegas Bowl and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco could be likely destinations. It's fun to think about, but probably a little too early to really know what's in store for Rodriguez's crew.
by Daniel Berk 10/24/2013 7:11:51 PM
It's definitely been an issue for the UA this season, no question. I wouldn't anticipate too many changes on Saturday though. The only change that might happen is a new punt returner. I wouldn't be surprised to see Nate Phillips start out as the returner. Johnny Jackson has been the guy there since Phillips fumbled twice against NAU, but now Jackson has a case of the fumbles. Rodriguez didn't seem to be too concerned with it this week. If it continues, it will become a bigger one. As for the kickers, it will still be Smith and Riggleman.
by Daniel Berk 10/24/2013 7:15:48 PM
I'm honestly not sure how much slimmer they can get. We're talking about a co-third string quarterback here. He's got a lot of talent, but missed too much time in the spring and early in the fall and just doesn't have the confidence of the coaching staff. I think Javelle Allen has secured the No. 2 job at this point.
by Daniel Berk 10/24/2013 7:17:42 PM
It's a good question and it is going to be a massive gap to fill next year. I talked to a few members of the staff this week who said they really like what they've seen this year from freshmen Pierre Cormier and Zach Green, who are both redshirting. I think those two will get a crack as will incoming freshman Nick Wilson. It will be interesting to see if Jared Baker, who will be a junior, can get a real look. But no matter what, it's going to be a committee thing, rather than just one guy filling in for Ka'Deem.
by Daniel Berk 10/24/2013 7:21:23 PM
You're right, Richards doesn't have big stats yet, but I think he's made a major impact since he's returned. Against Utah, the big fella was going deep on almost every play in the first half. Utah was sending a cornerback with him and shading a safety over to keep an eye on him. That was opening up things underneath for the slot guys and making it easier for B.J. Denker to hit them for short gainers. Arizona did not have that deep threat early on and it showed. I think Richards will continue to just get healthier and better as the season progresses, too.
by Daniel Berk 10/24/2013 7:24:24 PM
Good question, Thomas. The end zones against Utah looked very brown and it was the cork showing up. I'm not sure if they overfilled it, or it just hasn't really settled in yet with only three games on the field. For those that don't know, the cork is there to keep the field cool, rather than the traditional rubber pellets. It'll be interesting to see if the cork settles in, or if there's just too much of it on the field.
by Daniel Berk 10/24/2013 7:27:31 PM