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Arizona football: Cats seek QB who can do the job

Center, wide receiver, RB are other spots to watch this spring
2013-03-05T00:00:00Z Arizona football: Cats seek QB who can do the jobDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Quarterback Jesse Scroggins is in a walking boot and sporting crutches.

High schooler Anu Solomon still has prom and graduation to deal with.

B.J. Denker, Javelle Allen and Nick Isham are all healthy and competing in spring practice.

Trying to handicap the race to be the Arizona Wildcats' starting signal-caller in 2013 isn't an easy task.

"I know everyone wants to have a competition between each other, but for us it's more about the quarterback - can he do it?" coach Rich Rodriguez said. "In other words, it's not comparing him to someone else. That's what we tell our guys. They're not going to be able to win a job in the spring, but they can show us that we can win with them."

Rodriguez's point is well taken: There's a lot of football left before the start of the season and a lot will happen before then.

Scroggins, who had offseason foot surgery, will get healthy. Solomon, a highly ranked recruit out of Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High School, will graduate. Then things will become even murkier.

The position battle at quarterback is hardly the only one for the Wildcats this spring. While the five quarterbacks work it out, there are several other spots on the field where there is competition for playing time.

Here are three positions we're watching this spring.

Center

• Who's gone: Kyle Quinn; Addison Bachman

• Who's here: Jacob Arzouman; Beau Boyster; Chris Putton

• Who's coming: Steven Gurrola

• The lowdown: Quinn and Bachman combined to start all 13 games at center last season and were a productive duo. Rodriguez has said he's less concerned with finding a starting center this spring than he is on finding seven to eight linemen he can depend on for the upcoming season. Still, the second-year coach will clearly have an eye on the center spot.

Putton, who started eight games at guard last season, has been snapping and has seen some time at center early this spring. Putton, Arzouman and Boyster will battle with Gurrola, a junior college transfer, in the fall.

• Quotable: "It's fair to say we expect (Gurrola) to come in and be in the mix. We wouldn't look to redshirt him. We're not recruiting guys to be backups, we're recruiting them to come in and compete." - Rodriguez.

Wide receiver

• Who's gone: Dan Buckner

• Who's here: Tyler Slavin; Clive Georges; Trey Griffey

• Who's coming: T.J. Johnson; Samajie Grant

• The lowdown: We're looking solely at Buckner's starting spot from a year ago and removing other starters Austin Hill, Terrence Miller, Garic Wharton and the injured David Richards from the picture. Slavin caught the game-winning touchdown in the New Mexico Bowl and had four catches for 37 yards in that game. Slavin, who played in all 13 games last season, is an intriguing athlete, who offers some experience.

Georges and Griffey redshirted last season and are trying to make an impression this spring.

• Quotable: "I'm just trying to build off that game and get stronger. I feel like if anybody caught a game-winning touchdown like that they would feel more confident. Without Dan here, we will all be a good replacement for him. It's an open competition. Everybody has a chance and whoever the best one is will play." - Slavin.

No. 2 running back

• Who's gone: Daniel Jenkins

• Who's here: Jared Baker; Kylan Butler; J.T. Washington

• Who's coming: Pierre Cormier; Zach Green

• The lowdown: The No. 1 job clearly belongs to Ka'Deem Carey, but every great running back needs a good backup. Jenkins transferred to Washington State for his senior season, leaving a void at the No. 2 spot.

Baker, Butler and Washington are all using the spring as an audition and Cormier, a four-star recruit, will certainly look to get in on the competition when he arrives this summer.

• Quotable: "We play two tailbacks at the same time a lot, but I'd like to have four. That's a position because of injuries that you have to have a lot of guys. If we can get three out of spring who we feel good with, that would be great. And then by the end of fall, we have to have four guys we can count on." - Rodriguez.

Up next

• March 29: Scrimmage, 7 p.m. at Phoenix College

• April 13: Spring game, 1 p.m. at Kindall/Sancet Stadium

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4430. On Twitter @DSBerk.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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