Opinion: UA’s Rich Rod will start Anu Solomon at QB

<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons above -->
                <div>
                    <a class="addthis_button" href="//addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=300" addthis:url='http://phxfan.com/2016/08/opinion-rich-rod-will-likely-start-anu-solomon-qb/' addthis:title='Opinion: UA’s Rich Rod will start Anu Solomon at QB'>
                        <img src="//cache.addthis.com/cachefly/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/>
                    </a>
                </div>  Who does Rich Rodriguez think he’s fooling? The fifth-year head football coach at University of Arizona says he may not name a starting quarterback for next week’s opener against […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
                <div>
                    <a class="addthis_button" href="//addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=300" addthis:url='http://phxfan.com/2016/08/opinion-rich-rod-will-likely-start-anu-solomon-qb/' addthis:title='Opinion: UA’s Rich Rod will start Anu Solomon at QB'>
                        <img src="//cache.addthis.com/cachefly/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/>
                    </a>
                </div>

 

Who does Rich Rodriguez think he’s fooling?

The fifth-year head football coach at University of Arizona says he may not name a starting quarterback for next week’s opener against BYU until as late as game day.  Nothing new here.  Rich Rod tries to maintain the suspense as long as possible each time a new season rolls around.

But it shouldn’t be much of a mystery which QB will get the nod.  After BYU’s coach, Kalani Sitake, named his starter just days ago, it made it even more certain that Rodriguez is likely to stay with his starter the last two seasons, Anu Solomon.

The Cougars will have a seasoned fifth-year senior under center for the opener.  Tayson Hill came out of the pre-season quarterback scrum with the starting nod.

Solomon is the only QB in Arizona’s stable of five signal-callers who returns with any significant playing time.  And that game experience is what will be critical to the Wildcats’ success in securing that all-important opening victory.

Not only will BYU be putting an experienced 26-year-old leader on the field at the key offensive position, but it’s someone the Cats haven’t been able to scout.

Hill held huge promise after a sophomore year in which he threw for more than 4,000 yards and was responsible for 29 touchdowns.  But since he’s been sidelined for much of the last two seasons during to injuries, it’s hard to tell what he will be bringing to the Cougars’ game.

Add to that the fact that Sitake is BYU’s new head coach, who brought in new coordinators to staff his program. That makes it even more difficult to prepare for this game.

And that’s why it will take an experienced quarterback like Solomon to make a lot of on-the-field decisions.  That means the redshirt junior becomes the only real option.

Brandon Dawkins, who most agree has the best shot at beating out the veteran, is a redshirt sophomore and was the third-string quarterback last year.  He saw limited time in six games in 2015, with his most impressive performance coming against Arizona State when Solomon was sidelined with a concussion and back-up Jerrard Randall was struggling.  Although he was intercepted twice, he finished that game with 305 yards on 16-of-30 passing.

Solomon was plagued with injuries the last couple of seasons – two concussion last year alone – but still managed to throw for 6,460 yards (fourth-most in program history) and 48 passing touchdowns (third on the all-time list) over those two years.

It would be hard to keep that kind of talent on the sidelines if he’s healthy.  And that continues to be a question; he has already missed time when he injured his hamstring during spring practice.

So Brandon could play a key role this season as a back-up ready to step in at any time.  He’s got the size at 6’3″ and 210 pounds and actually provides a bigger dual threat than Solomon because he is very mobile and has a strong arm that can throw deep.

Rod Smith, the quarterbacks coach, feels they can’t go wrong with either option.

“We feel comfortable with both of them,” he admitted in an article for the Arizona Daily Star.  “We’ve got two good quarterbacks.”

A nice place to be, especially for a team that hasn’t been given much promise for the 2016 season.  After a disappointing 7-6 finish in 2015, the Cats were picked in the Pac-12 preseason media poll to finish fourth in the South Division.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics)