UA FOOTBALL

Arizona football: Making an introduction

Transfer quarterback Scroggins shows skill in first snaps for UA
2013-04-14T00:00:00Z 2013-04-16T19:28:42Z Arizona football: Making an introductionDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Three drives into Saturday's spring game, Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jesse Scroggins walked over to his position coach, Rod Smith, and asked if he could play.

The USC transfer hadn't taken one snap of live action this spring after undergoing toe surgery, but said he felt ready to go.

Smith got the final OK from coach Rich Rodriguez, and the Scroggins era officially began in front of 4,095 fans at Kindall/Sancet Stadium.

It wasn't the initial impression Scroggins was hoping to make.

His first pass was intercepted by safety Tra'Mayne Bondurant. The 6-foot-3-inch, 201-pound quarterback misfired on his next three attempts.

"After that first throw, I said 'Wow, he broke on that?' " Scroggins said. "I really didn't think he was going to buzz me that quick. I had no hard feelings - he just made a good play and I have to get better at reading disguises and going the other way."

And he eventually did.

Knocking off the rust after having no live reps since the fall, Scroggins eventually found a groove. He finished 6 for 17 for 44 yards and two touchdowns.

He made a big-time throw over the middle to Jarrell Bennett and then found Bennett again later in the game for a touchdown in the back of the end zone. He lobbed a fade pass off his back foot that Bennett easily secured.

It's a starting point for the quarterback, who was one of the most recruited players at his position when he graduated from high school in 2010.

Rodriguez said that all things considered, Scroggins played well. The coach said he's looking forward to working with him when the team reconvenes in the fall.

"Right after one of his throws he says 'Coach, I'm still learning, I'm still learning,' before I had a chance to yell at him," Rodriguez said. "He'll be OK. This is his first true practice unlimited as it was."

Scroggins and the offense beat the defense in the team's second spring game under Rodriguez.

B.J. Denker got the majority of the work at quarterback, and played exclusively with the first team.

Denker went 13 for 20 for 246 yards and four touchdowns. He was intercepted once.

His highlight of the day was a 97-yard touchdown strike to Tyler Slavin on his second series.

Saturday's game capped off a strong spring for Denker, the only quarterback on the roster with a Pac-12 start.

"He was pretty sharp," Rodriguez said. "I've seen him make a lot of strides this spring, getting more confident, having great eye discipline, making the right decisions."

The Torrance, Calif., product said he was happy with his production this spring and is looking forward to battling with Scroggins and incoming freshman Anu Solomon in August.

"(Scroggins) looked good for a guy that had never had any live reps," Denker said. "He's going to be a good weapon. We're going to make each other better and it's going to be an interesting fall camp."

Saturday's game lacked several key figures - including Solomon, who won't arrive on campus until the summer.

As expected, running back Ka'Deem Carey and linebacker Jake Fischer were both held out despite being healthy.

Defensive starters Marquis Flowers, Shaquille Richardson, Jonathan McKnight and Jourdon Grandon all sat out with injuries.

Rodriguez announced after the game that wide receiver Austin Hill, who led the team with 81 catches and 1,364 yards last season, suffered a torn ACL in practice this week and will be sidelined for several months.

"We had, I think, 22 guys out with injuries and we probably held another seven or eight throughout the game," Rodriguez said. "So it was ugly at times. … I didn't learn as much as I wanted to this spring game because we had so many guys out. I want to get them healthy by their work out time in summer."

Kylan Butler led all rushers with 56 yards on seven carries. Freshman Clive Georges had the most receptions with five and finished with 72 yards and a touchdown.

Dakota Conwell and Shane Wilson led the defense with five tackles apiece. Dame Ndiaye had four tackles, a sack and one forced fumble.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.

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


Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 8 4 0 0.667
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 8 4 0 0.667
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 12 1 0 0.923
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 7 5 0 0.583
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 5 0 0.615
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
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