Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez has narrowed the QB field to four, but Brandon Dawkins remains the favorite to start.

Notes and takeaways from the Arizona Wildcats’ media availability after practice Thursday morning:

* Asked if he had figured which three quarterbacks he can win with – a camp-long goal – UA coach Rich Rodriguez said he has narrowed the field to four: Brandon Dawkins, Khalil Tate, Donavan Tate and Rhett Rodriguez. “Those four are all getting reps,” Rich Rodriguez said, “and all four probably will get reps next week.”

* That doesn’t mean all four are vying for the starting job. More likely, Dawkins and Khalil Tate are battling for the top spot – with Dawkins still the favorite – while Donavan Tate and Rhett Rodriguez compete for the No. 3 job. Freshman K’Hari Lane not being in that mix puts him on the redshirt track.

* Senior tailback Nick Wilson has been doing extra stretching and treatment to try get his body in the best possible shape after two injury-marred seasons.

* Rich Rodriguez said running back is the position he feels best about as of now in terms of experience and depth. Arizona has three veterans – Wilson, J.J. Taylor and Zach Green – plus freshman Nathan Tilford and impressive walk-on Branden Leon. Freshman Gary Brightwell, who’s been playing slot receiver, also could get time in the backfield.

* Besides the lines, the position most lacking in experienced depth is wide receiver, per Rodriguez. But he likes the talent there a lot. Linebacker is similarly situated.

* The Wildcats will meet before Friday night's "Beanie Bowl,” which begins at 6 p.m. at Arizona Stadium and is open to the public. The team will go over game situations and practice for about an hour, Rodriguez said.

* Arizona’s Week 1 depth chart should come out this weekend. The Beanie Bowl will give coaches a final look at the team. Expect a lot of "AND" and "OR" designations on the depth chart.

* Rodriguez said the offensive and defensive “toolboxes” will have more stuff in them heading into 2017. "We have to, frankly,” he said. “We’re not good enough to just lock into one scheme."

* Expect Shun Brown, Arizona's top receiver, to also be the Wildcats' No. 1 punt returner and one of their top two kickoff returners

* Rodriguez is fully in favor of a proposal to change the redshirt rules so that players could play up in up to four games without burning their redshirt. He is annoyed that it isn’t in effect already. “It makes a lot more sense,” Rodriguez said. “Then you can use your entire roster. I wish it was in place now, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait a year.”


Michael is an award-winning journalist who has been covering sports professionally since the early '90s. He started at the Star in 2015 after spending 15 years at The Orange County Register. Michael is a graduate of Northwestern University.