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Starting quarterback decision at Arizona could be coming sooner than expected

arizona-wildcats-football-quarterback-jedd-fisch-jayden-de-laura-noah-fifita-mccloud-plummer-spring Arizona Athletics

Jedd Fisch and his offensive staff are determined not to have another long, drawn out quarterback battle. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a starter named before the end of spring practice in April, if not sooner.

Tuesday provided the first glimpse at the current pecking order among the passers, with Washington State transfer Jayden de Laura getting all the reps with the 1st-team offense, while Jordan McCloud, Will Plummer and freshman Noah Fifita split the second team reps.

And unless the coaches see something on film between now and Thursday, that’s the order that will be in place for the time being.

“No, I don’t think it’s gonna be a bunch of different guys getting different amounts of reps,” Fisch said after Arizona’s second spring practice, but first since March. 2. “I don’t imagine it being each day is a different person.”

De Laura said the break between practices, necessitated by Arizona’s spring break, enabled him to spend more time with a playbook that’s very different from the one he had at Washington State. And not just because the Cougars ran the run and shoot and Arizona is pro-style.

“It’s like day and night,” he said. “When I came in, I kind of told myself I needed to forget everything from the run and shoot in order to kind of pick up on everything fast. It’s just understanding that it’s the same routes, but different depths, there’s different names for the routes.”

Quarterbacks coach Jimmie Dougherty said de Laura, as well as Fifita, have so far not looked like newcomers either to the system or the program.

“It’s been fairly easy so far, maybe it’s only after two days of spring ball, but I think it’s a credit to Jayden, how he’s he’s been around the team,” Dougherty said. :He’s come in with no ego, no arrogance to him, just kind of a workman-like attitude and I’m just gonna earn the respect of my teammates, but it happened naturally. And to the guys’ credit that have been here, it’s understanding that it’s competition, the best guy’s gonna play, it doesn’t matter who that guy might be. And they’ve all kind of done a great job so far of just kind of embracing it.”

McCloud, who along with Gunner Cruz is coming back from season ending surgery, said competition is a part of football. Plummer, who started seven games in 2021 including the final six, took that sentiment further by noting that quarterback movement is an annual cycle.

“You have some guys (come in), some guys leave, and you got to kind of embrace that,” he said. “Every year there’s gonna be between six, seven, eight guys on the roster, and whether it’s a new six, seven, eight guys or the same ones from last year, it’s the same principle. So you got to come to work with the same mentality every day.”