In case you didn't know, Anu Solomon is the clear favorite to start this season. We all have the bitter taste of the Pac-12 Championship Game and Fiesta Bowl in our mouth, but 2015 will be year two in "Anu Era".
This is the first time during his tenure at Arizona that Rich Rodriguez will have his starting quarterback returning for the next season. The season-long excuse for Solomon was that he was just a freshman, playing on an ankle that was probably hurting more than we'll ever know.
But quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said it best. "Your brain is sometimes your biggest asset, and his brain wasn't hurt.. he just has to get smarter," when asked about Solomon's freshman year during a spring practice. If he can stay healthy and make some smart decisions in the red zone, this offense can go far.
Next up is probably Jerrard Randall, who saw some action late last season when Solomon couldn't go. He threw a total of three times last season, all vs Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Sadly, that was his best game, mostly because of his feet. He rushed for 81 yards on 10 attempts, finding the end zone in the closing seconds of the game.
Randall is very fast for a quarterback, so if he can refine his throwing motion and accuracy, he could be a serious dual-threat for the offense to be called on during certain situations. But with only three scholarship quarterbacks, it's hard to get creative with injuries being a main concern.
If there was one quarterback to truly rival Anu Solomon this season for the starting spot, it was Brandon Dawkins. The redshirt freshman has a great build and a strong arm, just lacks the consistent accuracy. At 6-3 215lbs, he is clearly the biggest quarterback on the roster. He was the only quarterback in the Spring Game that wasn't wearing a non-contact jersey. If that doesn't tell you the state of the quarterback situation, then we're not sure what will.
The only way Dawkins will be able to find the field is if he capitalizes on an injury. Otherwise, considering the incoming talent over the next two years, and with Anu Solomon coming back, it's going to be hard for Dawkins to beat out the competition. Although, it could be another instance of an Arizona quarterback transferring, with a shot to compete for the starting spot elsewhere.
Injuries are key to the season's success and Anu Solomon is the number one priority. It's a scary thought to think of Solomon going down. The other quarterbacks are capable of filling in, but just for the remainder of a game. Having them start a series of games, or even just one game, might not end with a great result.
But something to make you really happy about the quarterback situation, fast forward to 2017 and Arizona will have an experienced Anu Solomon, 2016 4-star quarterbacks in Khalil Tate and Devon Modster, and 4-star Braxton Burmesiter coming in as a true freshman. A potential national championship team a la Ohio State....maybe...hopefully.