Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez named a starting quarterback Monday, but the coach is not fully committing to him.
“Anu Solomon will be the starter Friday night,” Rodriguez said during his first weekly news conference of the season. “That doesn’t mean that he plays the whole game and that he will be the starter the rest of the season. But I also don’t want any quarterback to ever go in thinking as soon as I make a mistake I’m coming out.”
While Rodriguez didn’t fully commit to Solomon, the redshirt freshman shouldn’t worry. Rodriguez waited even longer to name B.J. Denker his starting quarterback last year, and the senior started every game for the Wildcats.
“I’m confident that Anu will play well, and he will be the starter as long as he plays well and we win,” Rodriguez says.
Rodriguez likes to manufacture an edge for his quarterbacks. By not guaranteeing them a spot, they are expected to respond positively to the challenge. If they don’t, the backup quarterbacks believe they will get a legitimate chance to play and earn the starting spot.
Solomon rising to the top of Arizona’s depth chart is an impressive feat. The young signal caller had to beat out USC transfer Jesse Scroggins, LSU transfer Jerrard Randall and Texas transfer Connor Brewer.
“The coaches, and myself particularly, felt that he was playing the best out of all four quarterbacks,” Rodriguez said. “I think he’s got a good feel for the game and I want to make it clear it’s not like he did this thing and these other guys didn’t. I just think he did more things better on a consistent basis for him to start.”
The added benefit of naming Solomon the Wildcats’ starting quarterback is having a young player behind center to develop over the next four seasons. Rodriguez had a pair of seniors behind center during his first two seasons at the helm of the program. Solomon is the present and future of Arizona football.
(Hat Tip: ESPN.com)