Arizona Wildcats football: News and notes from day 17 of fall camp

2013-08-19T22:07:00Z Arizona Wildcats football: News and notes from day 17 of fall campDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 19, 2013 10:07 pm  • 

In the next day or two, UA coach Rich Rodriguez will begin limiting reps for his quarterbacks.

What exactly does that mean?

Right now, Rodriguez has all of his signal-callers getting pretty much equal work. That even includes Texas transfer Connor Brewer, who obviously isn’t even eligible to play this season.

But, by Wednesday, expect that to change a little bit. Rodriguez will likely start giving the majority of the work to three or four quarterbacks, while the others start getting less work.

My best guess at those four QBs right now are: B.J. Denker, Jesse Scroggins, Javelle Allen and Nick Isham. At this minute, true freshman Anu Solomon isn’t in that group. Rodriguez said tonight he doesn’t know if Solomon will be in that mix or not, but the vibe is he likely won’t be. When the coach was asked if Solomon will get more reps this week, his answer was: “No. Maybe less.”

That’s not a surprise at all.

Rodriguez’s offense is complex and tough to learn even for experienced QBs. Could Solomon eventually get in the mix? Definitely. He’s just not in the thick of it right now.

Some news, notes and quotes from tonight's practice:

• Rodriguez said defensive lineman Dan Pettinato, who suffered a major knee injury in the offseason, is ahead of schedule on his rehab. The junior will likely still miss the first two games of the season, but could be back for the UTSA matchup or the Sept. 28 Pac-12 opener at Washington. Pettinato is a coach’s favorite at the UA and will provide some depth and talent on the line when he’s healthy. He made nine starts last year and had 34 tackles.

“We’re hoping to get him by the third or fourth game,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a good football player.”

• The UA still hasn’t heard from the NCAA on Davonte Neal’s eligibility. And again, there’s no timetable at this point.

“We’re still waiting,” Rodriguez said. “Imagine that.”

For a feature on Neal and how he’s handling not knowing about his status, read tomorrow’s Star.

• Rodriguez said Sahuaro High School product Drew Riggleman is in the lead right now for the starting punter job, but that it’s still “ongoing.” At kicker, the coach seems pleased with the progress of veterans Jake Smith and Casey Skowron, but also didn’t rule out freshmen Bret Miller and Jack Flatau getting in the mix.

“Jake Smith has had a real good camp, but today he didn’t have his best today. And Casey Skowron had a really good camp, but Saturday wasn’t his best day,” Rodriguez said. “So, those two and the two freshmen, Bret Miller and Jack Flatau, are both pretty talented guys. We have four pretty talented guys. The two older guys, Jake and Casey, are pretty close. It’s going back and forth a little bit.”

• The coach said the staff will begin introducing NAU and their schemes and plays to the UA players as early as tomorrow. That’s right—we’re getting very close to some football.

And with that, some quotes from after tonight’s practice:

• Rodriguez on how this week—the true final week of fall camp--will be different than the previous two: “Not much, because there’s no school. It’s going to be the same as last week. There’s no clutter and it’s all football. I just told the team that, there’s no reason for them not to improve this week because there’s nothing but football on their mind. At least there shouldn’t be.”

• Rodriguez on contact in practices: “This is the (least amount of) hitting I’ve done in 28 years of coaching college football. It just seems like you get a concussion walking out of a building these days. You have to be extra cautious and you have to be able to teach a different way, coach a different way than you ever have because you have less live contact. I’ve never had this (little) live contact ever and I think most of my colleagues are the same way because you have concussions and what have you. You have to get guys ready to play. This isn’t the pros. Our guys still have to learn how to tackle and block and all that. We have to play that fine line to get them enough to get them taught, but not to beat up your team. Hopefully we’ll be healthy for that first game and be ready to play.”

• Rodriguez on if he’s able to do more during fall camp with his team during his second year: “I think we were able to be more efficient in practice. I thought last year’s team did a real nice job of learning quickly at least on how we want to practice and structure things. I think that really helped with their total buy-in. I think this year’s team…I think the upperclassmen did a nice job of setting the tempo of how we practice from the first one in August.”

• Rodriguez on where his team is compared to last season: “I think we’re further ahead defensively what we’re doing installation wise. Offensively, we’re probably about the same. I think that’s simply about the quarterback situation and trying to rep so many guys. We’ll probably pare things down even simpler the next couple of days.”

• QBs coach Rod Smith on how camp is different for him with so much inexperience at the position, compared to last year with Matt Scott: “Matt was an experienced guy. He had been around the block. There weren’t as many little things that you had to teach Matt because he got it already. These guys are more inexperienced for the most part, so you have to teach them every little part. When to throw the ball away, when to take care of the ball on the 4th down or if it’s right before the half, don’t turn the ball over, give us a chance to kick a field goal. Don’t take a sack. All those things you’re constantly teaching. With Matt, you didn’t quite as much of that.”

• Smith on Scroggins’ mobility: “Jesse can move a little bit. He’s not going to burn you by any means, but he has more mobility than people think. He’s a pretty good athlete. Jesse just has to learn to be more consistent and learn what we’re doing at all levels.”

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About this blog

Daniel Berk began covering UA football in 2013 after spending two-plus years as the Star's high school sports coordinator. Previously, he served as the sports editor and NAU beat writer for the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff for three years.

A University of Kansas graduate and St. Louis native, Berk is still getting used to 350 days of sunshine, the relentless "dry heat" of the summer and the fact that Tucson doesn't have a real hockey rink.

Contact Daniel at dberk@azstarnet.com or by calling 573-4330. Follow him on Twitter @DSBerk.

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