Anu Solomon has been replaced by Jerrard Randall in two consecutive games. And in those two games, it was Jerrard Randall that finally got the offense going.
When Jerrard Randall gets some confidence, he's not the worst option. Yes, he can be a complete liability when throwing the ball, and it can be extremely frustrating. But it's his playmaking ability he possesses with his feet that makes him such a dynamic threat for the offense. He can make anyone miss, and can score on virtually any play, all while tiring out the defense
Anu Solomon hasn't been bad this season, but he hasn't been making the plays you would expect him to make. Sure, he had plenty of success against the non-conference opponents, but in Pac-12 play, he hasn't found nearly as much success. I praised him quite a bit in the non-conference, showing a much stronger command of the offense, while making the smarter plays. Yes, he's still only a redshirt sophomore, and it's unfair to expect him to make a drastic jump from year one to year two, but he seems to have regressed since his Pac-12 play has started.
You could argue that he's still battling his concussion suffered in the opening Pac-12 game, and just doesn't look right, but this is something that has happened way too often with Anu Solomon. Last year, we used his freshman title and ankle injury excuse throughout the year, and now if this concussion is lingering, it's clear that he's injury prone, and won't be able to be the dependable starter for Arizona when it comes to his health.
He just hasn't been able to lead the offense and string together a complete drive. Considering all the weapons that he is surrounded by, it's a big concern. For being such a high-powered offense, his drives result in a lot of three-and-outs. But to be fair, this could also be a play-calling issue, which will be saved for another day.
Now a redshirt sophomore, he still has two more years of eligibility. But going forward for this season, it's unclear if he will even remain the starter, with Jerrard Randall hot on his tail, powering the offense with his legs.
Jerrard Randall only has a few more games in his Arizona career, which presumably would leave Anu Solomon with the starting job for 2016, right? Well, not exactly. Rich Rodriguez has never been one to hand over starting jobs to his returners, making his starters earn their spot over the guys behind them, leaving no one entitled.
We've seen glimpses of Brandon Dawkins, and everyone always talks about his potential, especially QB coach Rod Smith. He's a 6-3, 210lb quarterback with wheels, but he too lacks some accuracy. He could be in the mix. It depends on his progression heading into next season.
But then there are two electrifying guys coming in this 2016 recruiting class. 4-star quarterbacks Khalil Tate and Devon Modster.
Khalil Tate is the prototypical Rich Rodriguez quarterback he has been accustomed to using in his prolific offenses a la Pat White, Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson. He has the dual-threat speed, and he definitely has the arm strength. Some might question his accuracy, but it's very comparable to Anu Solomon at this point. The benefit with Tate is that he is only 17 years old: young enough to learn, yet still old enough to gather his mental toughness. He'll be graduating high school early, and enrolling at Arizona this spring, joining the team for spring ball, giving him an extra semester to learn and operate this offense. His playmaking abilities, extra semester, and Anu's lackluster performances are why I would think Khalil Tate will be the starter come week one of 2016.
You also have to keep Devon Modster in the conversation as well. Although he will not have the benefit of the extra semester, he seems to be a very smart, calm, and composed quarterback. Though he might not have the speed of Tate, his improved accuracy definitely makes up for it. While it might be harder for a quarterback to come in during the summer, learn the entire playbook, all while getting accustomed to the college life, Modster still has a pretty good chance of taking over the starting job.
Is there a quarterback controversy as of now? Possibly. We'll see how Rich Rodriguez manages the situation, sticking with Anu Solomon for all four quarters, continuing to pull Solomon in the second half, or letting Jerrard Randall take the reigns. But come next year, this could be a very interesting quarterback situation.