Fifty-four minutes into Saturday’s spring game, a smiling Rich Rodriguez walked over to the Pac-12 Networks on-field camera man with an inquiry.
“Y’all just wanna show the replay of the Oregon game for the next hour?” the coach jokingly asked.
The Arizona Wildcats still had more than an hour of time to fill.
Not even TV can keep up with Rodriguez’s jet tempo.
“We would have been done an hour ago, but we gotta stretch it out for this made-for-TV deal,” Rodriguez said Saturday afternoon. “I wanted to run about 60 plays. Well, 60 plays for us is usually done in 30 minutes.
“But it was good and the guys had a little bit of fun.”
And, as expected, that’s what Saturday’s game at Arizona Stadium was really about.
It is, after all, still closer to the end of the 2013 season than the Aug. 29 opener against UNLV.
The big decisions will be made during fall camp. Rodriguez is no closer to naming a starting quarterback now than he was when spring drills started in early March.
That was obvious on Saturday in the offense’s 57-38 win over the defense in front of an announced crowd of 7,100. The game, which was played using a nontraditional scoring system, didn’t produce any injuries.
Jesse Scroggins, Connor Brewer and Anu Solomon all played with the first-team offense while junior college transfer Jerrard Randall saw extended time with the second group.
Solomon threw a pair of touchdown passes, one to Johnny Jackson and the other to walk-on Abraham Mendivil. Brewer also found the end zone twice, once on an 18-yard touchdown pass to Cayleb Jones and the other on a short pass to Mendivil. Scroggins only reached the end zone once, but hooked up with DaVonte Neal for the play of the game.
The quarterback found Neal on a quick hit. The wide receiver broke a tackle from cornerback Derek Babiash and then broke two more before sprinting down the sideline for a 44-yard touchdown.
Solomon finished 4 for 8 for 74 yards and two scores. Brewer completed 8 of 12 passes for 71 yards and two scores, and Scroggins was 3 for 8 for 57 yards with an interception. He added a quarterback-high 37 rushing yards.
None of the quarterbacks were made available for comment after the game.
“You’re going to ask them questions that frankly they don’t have the ability to answer,” Rodriguez said. “If you ask them how they did, they’re all probably going to say they did well. I’m the only one that’s going to help clear that up.
“I’m not being coy, I’m just saying it’s been good to get a little bit of an idea of who is ready to do it. But I wanna see what they do in August and throughout the whole summer.”
Rodriguez said not to read much into the order of the quarterbacks, but Scroggins got the opening look with the first-team offense. He led the Wildcats on an eight-play drive that resulted in a 21-yard touchdown run from Terris Jones-Grigsby, who worked with the first unit at running back for the majority of the scrimmage.
After drives by Solomon, Brewer and Randall that didn’t produce any points, Scroggins found Neal for the second touchdown.
The senior-to-be didn’t provide jaw-dropping statistics on Saturday, but clearly helped himself this spring with a productive six weeks.
“He still has moments of inconsistency, but he’s so much further ahead as far as understanding the plays, where his eyes are supposed to be, and how he is supposed to be executing,” Rodriguez said of Scroggins. “He is making some strides. That’s what you would expect and that’s one of the goals in the spring.”
Elsewhere on offense, Jones-Grigsby, who worked with the first group for most of the spring, finished with 62 yards on six carries. Redshirt freshman Pierre Cormier gained 28 yards on six totes. Jones caught a pair of passes for 36 yards and Mendivil and Clive Georges led the way with four catches apiece.
Mendivil had 51 yards and the two scores and Georges had 35 yards. David Richards had three catches for 23 yards.
“It was nice seeing different guys making plays,” Jones said. “Everyone can do different stuff.”
Neal certainly raised some eyebrows with his highlight-reel catch. It was the only time he touched the ball all game, but it was clear to see the Notre Dame transfer that sat out last season will bring an element of excitement to the offense that lacked last year even with Ka’Deem Carey.
“I have a knack for getting in the end zone, and that’s what I want to do,” Neal said. “I want to help this team out by putting points up on the board and making big plays. I had to sit out a year and the year was not fun, but I rallied behind my team through the wins and losses, just so we can get to this point and be better.”