For the first time this season, it looks like Arizona will head into a game without publicly announcing a starting quarterback.
Coach Jedd Fisch said Thursday that he wanted that day’s practice, particularly the red zone portion of it, to “take care of itself” before deciding who would start for the Wildcats on Saturday night in their Pac-12 opener at Oregon.
Fisch said Jordan McCloud and Gunner Cruz have been getting the majority of the first-team reps this week, with Will Plummer “a llittle dinged up” from the home loss to NAU. Plummer started that game, going 19 of 34 for 191 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions before getting replaced by McCloud, who was 6 of 7 for 66 yards and a TD in his UA debut.
Cruz started Arizona’s first two games, looking sharp in the opener against BYU before regressing against San Diego State and getting pulled for Plummer.
Fisch said he wants Arizona to play only one quarterback the entire game, though he said that was also the plan for the SDSU and NAU contests with Cruz and Plummer, respectively.
“The goal would be that,” Fisch said. “If there is a certain play or two (for another QB), that would be maybe a package play. But specifically, it would be wanting to play the quarterback the whole way, have a good battle and hopefully play the quarterback the whole rest of the season. That would be the ultimate plan of attack. That was our goal a couple of weeks ago, when we went with Gunner against San Diego State, and that was our goal last week with Will.”
McCloud started 17 games at South Florida before transferring to the UA in June. His late arrival was cited as the reason he finished third in the preseason quarterback competition, but in recent weeks he’s made significant progress according to offensive coordinator Brennan Carroll.
“I think he is ready,” Carroll said Tuesday.
If McCloud starts at Oregon it would be the first time the UA has gone with three different QB starters since Willie Tuitama, Kris Heavner and Adam Austin started games in 2006 under Mike Stoops.