On Sunday night, Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez met with the four quarterbacks who were in the running for the starting job. He told them who the starter was going to be.
On Monday afternoon, Rodriguez made it official announcing that Redshirt Freshman Anu Solomon will be the one starting under center for the Wildcats’ week one matchup against UNLV this Friday night.
“I think he has a good feel for the game,” said Ridriguez during his weekly Press Conference. “And I want to make it clear, it wasn’t like he did this thing and the other guys didn’t. I just think he did more things better on a consistent basis to earn the start.”
While there wasn’t anything that Rich Rod noted that made him standout above the rest other than his consistency, there is a make-up about him that the head coach sees that makes him qualify to be in this position regardless if this remains the case all season with him being the number one quarterback.
“He started in high school four years and won four state championships,” Rodriguez explained. “He was probably mature beyond his years then and I think he’s got a passion for the game and he loves football. I think he sees the opportunity is out in front of him right now.”
There was buzz around Solomon going into the 2013 season as one of the faces of that recruiting class. Once he was named a redshirt, people wondered how he was adjusting to the next level of competition. But Rodriguez noticed quite the change in his mentality as well as his development over the course of this offseason.
“Last year, he had to redshirt and took it as a redshirt year,” Rodriguez mentioned. “I don’t think he felt like he was going to compete for it (the starting job) once camp started (last year). But I think this year, he knows he had a better chance and worked pretty hard and I think it is evident that he worked hard over the summer.”
A lot of people questions the Wildcats’ mentality with finding out who their quarterback would be since spring ball through fall camp with so many players getting repetitions at the number one spot. From Rodriguez’s stand point it was quite the opposite. He saw growth in all four quarterbacks that were in the running and believed they had a very good rotation going.
“We put pressure on all of those guys and I think Coach Smith did a really god job of getting these guys reps and having a good rotation,” he stated. “But now with a few days left before we’re playing, 12 (Solomon) will take all the reps with the first group.”
Rodriguez did not name a back-up for friday’s game however. The competition for that between Jesse Scroggins, Jerrard Randall and Connor Brewer continues to be on-going. He did not rule out the fact that more than one including Solomon could play against the Rebels.
“Jesse Scroggins has come a long way since the spring, Jerrard Randall has got a lot better and he has a lot of talent and Connor Brewer has had some good days at camp,” said Rodriguez. “So really all four I think benefited from the way we did things this August and who knows, we may need all of them at some point.”
t should be noted that at every school since Rich Rod has been a head coach, every time he has had a quarterback start two consecutive years, on that second year that player has won the conference player. So if that all holds true, this could be the beginning of a bright future for the Wildcats at that position. Solomon and the Wildcats kick off their 2014 season on Friday against UNLV at 7pm from Arizona Stadium.