If you were hoping that Arizona’s first preseason scrimmage was going to be the place where a starting quarterback emerged from the pack, you might not want to keep reading.
As has been the case throughout training camp, all three Wildcat passers competing for the top spot showed flashes of good combined with moments of regression during a 2-hour scrimmage inside Arizona Stadium.
“Some good, some bad,” UA coach Jedd Fisch summarized. “Normal scrimmage, I think.”
Gunner Cruz was 7 of 10 for 133 yards on his six series during 11-on-11 competition, completing a 62-yard touchdown pass to Stanley Berryhill III on the third play of the night. Will Plummer was 5 of 7 for 49 yards in five series, adding 25 rushing yards on three carries, and Jordan McCloud was 3 for 4 for 52 yards with a 14-yard TD pass to Anthony Simpson as well as a 19-yard scramble.
Yet Cruz also was sacked at least three times, showing hesitancy to throw in many situations. Plummer was more composed overall but struggled when Arizona did 7-on-7 drills midway through the scrimmage, and most of McCloud’s best moments were when he didn’t have to deal with a pass rush.
And there were some missed opportunities as well. Plummer had Dorian Singer behind the defense for what would have been a 25-yard TD but Singer couldn’t make the catch, while Cruz and McCloud both had potential TD throws snuffed out by pass interference calls.
The UA only has four more practices left before switching to “game week” mode, and Fisch indicated that the next scrimmage—set for Saturday night in Arizona Stadium—should be when it’s clear who the Wildcats’ starting QB will be.
“I think tonight we’ll have a good idea, after we watch the film, how we’re heading in that direction,” he said. “By Saturday night, the next scrimmage, we should be able to have the guy that’s starting taking (snaps) with the ones.”
Fisch said he is starting to see the separation he so greatly desires, but deferred to needing to watch film of the end zone view before publicly commenting on who is ahead.
“There’s separation, I just don’t exactly how much,” he said. “I really want to watch the tape before I speak on the exact separation. From my viewpoint on the sideline you don’t really get to see what decisions they were making.”
Injured defensive linemen expected back soon
The only projected starter on Arizona’s defensive line that played Sunday was edge rusher Jalen Harris. Everyone else, including some likely backups, are nursing minor injuries.
Kyon Barrs, Trevon Mason and Dion Wilson Jr. were all spotted on the sidelines with a protective boot on one of their feet, while Paris Shand and Eddie Siaumau-Sanitoa were also not dressed. JB Brown was not in attendance, having also missed Saturday’s practice for undisclosed reasons.
However, Fisch expects all of them to be back in time to play against BYU assuming they’re able to get the necessary practice reps before then.
“Concern for them not practicing? Yes. Concern for their health for opening day? No,” he said. “The entire defensive line will be back, hopefully, within the next three to four days. They need to be back.”