Experience will be weighed in Arizona quarterback battle - The Explorer: Sports

Experience will be weighed in Arizona quarterback battle

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Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 11:09 am

When Anu Solomon joins Arizona's quarterback competition in fall camp, he will have less than a month to impress the coaching staff enough to win the starting job.

The four-star from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman has been sent footage of scrimmages throughout the spring. With a parent in the airline business, Solomon also has had the luxury of traveling to Tucson as he pleases.

But the 6-1, 202-pounder has yet to step on an actual field for the Wildcats. When camp opens Aug. 1, he will be miles behind compared to the likely favorites, B.J. Denker and Jesse Scroggins. But Solomon will not necessarily be directly compared to the two when it comes time for UA head coach Rich Rodriguez to name a starter before the Aug. 30 season opener.

In fact, Rodriguez said in a conference call earlier this offseason that there will be different standards for each quarterback.

Anu Solomon will be given a bit longer leash in fall camp compared to Arizona's more experienced options.

"The expectation of guys that are new to the system, we have to be more patient," Rodriguez said of Solomon and fellow incoming quarterback Khari McGee. "We're not really the patient kind of people, but with a freshman coming in, being their first time we're practicing with them, we have to be patient and understand that it's going to be a different language, it's going to be a different tempo and so they have a lot to learn."

Solomon will arrive this summer for players-only workouts with plenty of praise. Among the accolades and noteworthy items, Sports Illustrated placed him on its list of impact freshmen around the country to watch for the upcoming season.

And Rodriguez has reiterated throughout the spring and offseason that a true freshman can step in right away and win the starting job.

When it comes to Denker, Scroggins and the rest of the quarterbacks who went through the spring, Rodriguez was not shy to say that the expectations will be "a little higher."

From previous experience, UA quarterbacks coach Rod Smith told GOAZCATS.com last spring that it can be "nightmares" for a staff with a true freshman under center.

While at Indiana prior to rejoining RichRod in Tucson, Smith had to work with Tre Roberson, who ironically became the first true freshman in Hoosiers history to start in 2011. In his five starts, Roberson completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 779 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions.

So you can see why it could be a bit risky to start a fresh-faced signal caller over someone like Denker, who has a taste of what it's like to be under the lights. But, like Rodriguez said, that's also why there will be a different bar for the more experienced quarterbacks.

"We expect them to understand the way we ended our spring and pick up fall camp, ready to take it to another level," Rodriguez said.

(Tracy MacDannald is the senior editor for GOAZCATs. Get all your Wildcats' news at www.goazcats.com.)

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