QB dilemma continues to define UA football fortunes

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                </div>  From all indications, the University of Arizona Wildcats should have a good football team again this year.  They have play makers on offense that include some of the best […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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From all indications, the University of Arizona Wildcats should have a good football team again this year.  They have play makers on offense that include some of the best receivers in the conference, return almost their entire offensive line, and have returners in the key spots on defense.

But the real question this year is going to be just how good they will be.  Their mediocre pre-season ranking at No. 4 in the Pac-12 South Division doesn’t tell much.

Are they going to turn in another 8-5 season, like the last two under the direction of third-year head coach Rich Rodriguez?  Or can they break out of the “good” category and show they are on the road to becoming a conference contender?

All this speculation rests on the fact that the Cats have no quarterback.  Actually, they have a boat load of QB hopefuls, but no one tapped yet to take over for B.J. Denker, who was lost to graduation.

At last week’s Pac-12 Media Day RichRod stuck to his guns and wouldn’t give reporters any indication as to who has the lead in the quest for the starting role.  He continues to claim, just as he did after spring practice, that he doesn’t know yet where any of his handful of quarterbacks fall on a depth chart.

He’s fortunate to have three in the group that already have some seasoning.  Jesse Scroggins is a transfer from USC, Connor Brewer put in a year in the Texas Longhorn program, and Jerrard Randall played at LSU.  The fourth player also getting a consideration is redshirt freshman Anu Solomon.

Brewer has to be the local favorite after making a big splash during his prep career at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale.  He was a hot commodity on the recruiting trail after racking up 7,574 yards and 100 touchdowns, which is a state touchdown record.  After a senior season that ended with 3,001 passing yards and 43 touchdowns, ESPN ranked him as the No. 7 quarterback in the class of 2011.

He selected Texas to begin his college career, but left after a redshirt season.  He came back to play at UofA and sat out last season in compliance with NCAA transfer rules.

Odds are good that Brewer will be in the mix when the list gets whittled down to the final two aspirants, despite the fact that his basic style doesn’t fit well into the Arizona system.  He was rated by 247Sports as the fifth-best pro-style quarterback to come out of high school in his senior year, but Rodriguez runs a run-option system.

The other finalist will likely be either Randall, who spent two seasons at LSU before transferring to Northeast Mississippi Community College, or Scroggins, who is also a JUCO transfer.  Both have spent a year under Rodriguez, but neither saw game time.

Solomon is the wild card.  He redshirted his freshman year to give him a chance to make the adjustment from high school, where he came out as a four-star recruit.  During his four years at Bishop Gorman High School, a nationally-ranked program in Nevada, he lost just three games and led the school to four state titles.

Rodriguez has always stockpiled quarterbacks wherever he went.  His first year at Arizona he didn’t have that luxury, but did have a senior with one year of eligibility left.  Matt Scott turned out to be one of the best quarterbacks in the conference that year.  Last year, Denker gave RichRod his final year of eligibility and turned out to be every bit as good as Scott.  The result was identical 8-5 records.

But this season Rodriguez has his pick of the litter.  And whoever gets the nod could be in the job for years to come.

And that’s probably why the ol’ ball coach is taking his time making this decision.  He needs to get it right.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics)