Arizona’s preseason training camp officially ends Saturday night, and it will come to a close without a starter being named at quarterback.
UA coach Jedd Fisch said Wednesday he’s likely to announce a starer next Monday, which is the start of the Wildcats’ two-week “game week” preparation for the Sept. 4 opener against BYU in Las Vegas. And while statistics and game film will factor into his choice, the ultimate deciding factor may end up being more instinctive.
“It will really be gut feeling on who I think gives us the best chance to be successful,” Fisch said. “The stats are too close. I’ve rewatched the film, there’s not going to be many things that have changed. It will be the person that I believe the team will rally around, it will be the guy we believe can execute the game plan.”
Fisch said Saturday night’s scrimmage inside Arizona Stadium will be a Red vs. Blue affair, with the team split into two units. One of the three quarterbacks competing for the starting job—Gunner Cruz, Jordan McCloud and Will Plummer—will be placed on each team, with the third rotating back and forth to ensure each gets a fair share of series.
All three are getting one full practice with the first-team offense before that. Cruz had his during last Sunday’s scrimmage, McCloud was with the ones on Tuesday and Plummer will do so Thursday night.
“Then we’ll see what Friday brings, how we’ll split that up,” Fisch said. “They’ll each have opportunities to drive the ball down the field. So we’re able to have a rotation where nobody gets left out.”
Fisch said Arizona’s QB situation is not unique in college football, citing how South Carolina dressed a graduate assistant on Tuesday to help with its competition.
“This is not really a rarity when it comes to, when you don’t have an established quarterback you’re going to have these competitions,” he said. “There’s a lot of different things going on across the country if you don’t have a returner, and we didn’t have a returner. A returning starter.”
Once the starter is named, Fisch says he plans to stick with that guy until “there’s a reason for you not to be the starter.”
“I don’t want these guys, once you name a starting quarterback, we’re not going to live in a world where you’re looking over your shoulders,” he said. “That’s the worst feeling in the world.”
Wednesday practice scrapped for pool time
Originally set for a night practice, Arizona was on the field at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday but was off it less than 45 minutes later. Shortly after stretching, the team was called over by Fisch, who informed them that practice was over and that everyone was headed to the Student Rec Center to go swimming. Also, there were donuts.
“It felt like it was time to not practice today,” Fisch said, noting how physical Tuesday night’s practice was. “I just felt like we were at a point and time in camp we’ve gone really hard every day, we haven’t given them really any bones at all. I just think there’s a point in time where, if they’re going to give you incredible effort every single day, there’s an opportunity to do something.
“Tomorrow we’ll be back at it, full go, full pads.”
To make up for not practicing fully Wednesday, the UA has added a Friday practice that is not expected to be open to the public. After that it will get on a bus and head to a hotel, part of Fisch’s plan to use Saturday’s scrimmage as test run for how Arizona goes about pregame activities when at home.