UA FOOTBALL

QBs open up - with talk

Good practice leads coach to take muzzles off UA's signal-callers
2013-08-07T00:00:00Z QBs open up - with talkDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

If there's one thing that's been learned in Rich Rodriguez's second fall camp with the Arizona Wildcats, it's that his feelings on certain positions and players can change in a hurry.

Take the quarterbacks.

The UA coach wasn't happy with his group of signal-callers through the first three days of camp and kept all of them - from B.J. Denker to Jesse Scroggins to Nick Isham - off-limits to reporters.

That changed Tuesday night.

Following what Denker called "head and shoulders, the best practice of the fall," at Arizona Stadium, Rodriguez made his quarterbacks available to chat.

And they all had plenty to say.

Scroggins said he's just happy to be back on the field and entrenched in the quarterback competition. He missed most of spring drills while recovering from offseason foot surgery and was out for the first two days of fall camp with a concussion.

"It's competitive," Scroggins said. "No matter if you're winning or you're losing, everyone is going to have fun. Everyone talks to each other; everyone helps each other. That's the best part about being a part of a team."

The former USC and El Camino Community College player has been through quarterback competitions, but not one like Rodriguez's. The coach - so far, least- is divvying up the reps as evenly as possible among all eligible players.

"I've never been through one like this, where everyone is getting reps and showing what they got," Scroggins said.

"It makes the next man want to work harder. We all get the same amount of reps. The coaches aren't playing favorites; everyone gets to play.

"The best man is going to win."

Rodriguez still has plenty of time to decide who that is.

Denker is hopeful it's him, even after a slow start to camp.

"The first two days were a little rusty," Denker said. "I didn't come out like I wanted to. The last couple of days I've been focusing on working on the things I did wrong earlier and trying to come out more confident.

"I don't think it was pressure; we just hadn't had a live practice for 13 weeks. You try to simulate it with individual workouts with the players, but it's just not the same."

The senior from Torrance, Calif., swears he's not letting the competition get in his head.

"You can't think, 'If I mess up on this play then I'm not going to play Week 1,'" Denker said. "You don't do that. When Coach is yelling a play at me, I'm not thinking, 'If I screw this up, I'm not going to play.'"

Rodriguez said he's putting a little extra pressure on the quarterbacks early in camp. He will likely pare down the reps as soon as next week.

No word on Neal

UA officials are still waiting to hear whether Notre Dame transfer Davonte' Neal will be eligible to play this season.

Though it's still unlikely that the NCAA will grant his waiver to play right away, Rodriguez is holding out hope until he's emphatically told no.

"I'm hoping there will be a resolution soon," Rodriguez said Tuesday. "I think he should be eligible in getting a scholarship. That's my opinion."

Neal, a former star at Scottsdale Chaparral High School, transferred from Notre Dame to be closer to his girlfriend and newborn baby.

McAlister on campus

Former UA All-America cornerback Chris McAlister checked out the Wildcats' practice Tuesday night. McAlister, a three-time Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl champion in 2000 with the Baltimore Ravens, chatted with Rodriguez and other members of the staff on the sideline.

The former first-round draft pick got a guided tour of the new Lowell-Stevens Football Facility before coming to practice.

"It makes me wish I would have been born about 15 years later," McAlister said of the new facility. "It's awesome. They have NFL-grade equipment and locker rooms. This is one of those places that recruits will want to come and play."

McAlister got a bit of a surprise when he saw a giant mural of himself painted on one of the walls in the weight room.

"I didn't expect it to be up there, but it was real cool to see," McAlister said. "It's nice they did that."

Extra points

• Kyle Quinn, who started nine games at center last season for the UA, signed a free-agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday. Quinn signed with the Philadelphia Eagles the night the NFL draft concluded but was cut before training camp began.

• Rodriguez said all freshman wide receivers will have a shot to play this season because of the lack of depth at the position. The coach previously said James Phillips, a Chandler Basha product, would be a candidate to play right away. Tuesday, he also named Samajie Grant and walk-on Aaron Lacombe as two more who could play immediately.

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

Team W L T PCT
Utah 6 1 0 0.857
Arizona 6 1 0 0.857
ASU 6 1 0 0.857
UCLA 6 2 0 0.750
USC 5 3 0 0.625
Colorado 3 5 0 0.375

Pac-12 North football standings

Team W L T PCT
Oregon 7 1 0 0.875
Stanford 5 3 0 0.625
Washington 5 3 0 0.625
Oregon State 4 3 0 0.571
Cal 4 4 0 0.500
Washington State 2 6 0 0.250
Free Wildcats Sports Newsletter

University of Arizona sports news and blog headlines, delivered daily


Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Deals, offers & events

View more...