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Arizona Spring Game preview: What to expect from the Wildcats' offense

A quick preview of what to expect on the offensive side of the ball

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Who's going to win the Arizona Wildcats spring game on Friday night?

Probably the offense based on everything that's happened so far this semester.

Here's a look at what you should be aware of heading into the Spring Game on the offensive side of the ball:


Anu Solomon has taken all of that "QB controversy" conversation and thrown it in the trash with his performance this spring. The now redshirt sophomore is back to being healthy, and has improved on his game significantly over the past month or so.

But that doesn't mean the other quarterbacks won't play. Rich Rodriguez said on Wednesday that the three scholarship quarterbacks will get significant reps, as well as Zach Werlinger.

"They all had to get getter," Rodriguez said of his QB group. "Anu took as many reps as we could possibly give, but Jerrard Randall and Brandon Dawkins were two guys that had to take another step mentally as far as understanding not just what we do, but as far as understanding the defenses, and it was a good spring for them in that standpoint and we won't really have to add a whole lot more from the spring to fall camp."

Solomon and Randall will be off-limits as far as getting hit, but Dawkins won't be so safe.

"Oh yeah," Rodriguez said when asked if Dawkins will get hit Friday. "He probably hopes he doesn't, but inevitably he'll probably get hit at some point."

Running backs:

Don't worry about the lack of Nick Wilson toting the ball around the field on Friday night. That's been the plan since the season ended last year, and the coaching staff has stuck with it throughout the spring.

This is the time to shine for guys like Jared Baker, Zach Green and Jonathan Haden. Baker's proven himself in game action last year, but now he can solidify himself as a legitimate backup to Wilson in 2015.

Wide receivers:

The only two real losses here are Austin Hill (graduating) and DaVonte' Neal (moved to defense). Combine that with the added experience at quarterback with Anu Solomon, and the passing game could be extremely dangerous.

"I think what we had to do is get more refined in our technique," Rodriguez said of what the receivers have worked on. "Sometimes when your ability is good you get by on that. But there were games where you better have ability and technique, and I think this spring (WR) coach (Tony) Dews really concentrated on that technique-wise, and they took a step, but they've still got a little work to do."

"We've still got a whole fall camp to do that," added Nate Phillips. "So we'll still have time do that, but I think (we've improved on technique) so far."

"You can definitely see us getting our timing, stuff like that," continued the junior receiver. "We're definitely getting that kind of stuff down and that just comes with practice."

"When you have one guy who consistently goes with the ones, you get that timing and that chemistry down," he said about knowing that Solomon is the guy right now. "It puts the team more at ease of we know who our guy is and we practice around this, and we've got a backup ready to come in if need be."

Phillips is still recovering from foot surgery he had in the last half of the 2014 season, and he admitted that his foot still bothers him at times during practice.

"They want to limit me so I'm not doing as many reps, but I feel good," Phillips said. "It's definitely coming back. But my foot is still bothering me every now and then."

Offensive line:

Four spots on the offensive line seemed to be pretty much locked down. You have returners in Jacob Alsadek (RG), Cayman Bundage (LG) and Lene Maiava (RT) plus the addition of Cal transfer Freddie Tagaloa at left tackle.

"He's a great offensive lineman," Scooby Wright III said of Tagaloa. "He has good feet, strong hands. He's a good pass blocker. He's a good run blocker. He'll be really good addition for us."

"We went up against Freddie on scout team (last year)," Wright joked. "Especially me on the weak side, so now I get to see him on first team in practice, so that's always fun seeing that. Just look at him."

The question mark is still at center. Carter Wood filled in at times last year when Steven Gurrola was out with injury or suspension. But it seems like the front-runner right now is San Jose State transfer David Catalano. He spends time after every practice with the coaches working on his snapping.