Redshirt junior Brandon Dawkins is healthy and will start at quarterback at UTEP on Friday, Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez announced Wednesday.
Dawkins came out for two series in the fourth quarter of the Houston game last week – in part because he was banged up, in part because Rodriguez was seeking a spark for the offense.
Sophomore Khalil Tate replaced Dawkins but did not appear to be 100 percent. Tate hurt his shoulder in Week 1 and was shaking his arm between plays during the Houston game.
Dawkins has completed 24 of 42 passes for 267 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions so far this season. He has rushed 20 times for 118 yards and two scores.
“I just want him to play good,” Rodriguez said of Dawkins. “He’s played well at times. He can be really, really good. That’s our expectation for him.”
Arizona Wildcats QB poll: Who would you like to see starting behind center vs. UTEP?— Michael Lev (@MichaelJLev) September 12, 2017
Additional notes and takeaways from Arizona’s media availability after practice Wednesday morning:
* DE-LB DeAndre' Miller (foot) is finally out of his boot. He didn't practice today, so he won't play at UTEP. But it's possible Miller could be back for the Pac-12 opener against Utah next week. He has yet to play or practice after having foot surgery in July.
* Rodriguez said his expectation for all the quarterbacks is to be "not good but great." He still believes Dawkins can reach that level.
* Rodriguez on freshman quarterbacks Rhett Rodriguez and Donavan Tate: "They’re as advanced mentally as any true freshmen we’ve had."
* Freshman JB Brown could get some looks as a pass rusher starting this week at UTEP. Brown, recruited as an inside linebacker, did not play in the first two games.
* For those pining for more of Arizona freshman tailback Nathan Tilford ... he's going to play on the kickoff-coverage team. The coaches believe his speed could be an asset on that unit.
* Rich Rodriguez on freshman linebacker Tony Fields II: "He’s a pretty good player now, but man, he’s going to be really good."
* Rodriguez still believes Arizona is undersized defensively. He expects all the freshmen who are playing to get bigger and stronger eventually.
* Some things Rodriguez wants to see from the Wildcats at UTEP: Better execution, second and third effort and fewer missed assignments/mental mistakes.
* The way effort Houston’s Ed Oliver played vs. Arizona taught the Wildcats a lesson about finishing blocks/plays. I’ll have more on that later this week.
* On defense, Rodriguez is seeking more aggression in the pass rush and better ball awareness in zone coverage.
* Two special-teams standouts last week for Arizona: Colin Schooler and Kwesi Mashack. Schooler, a freshman, is starting on all special teams. I’ll have more on the up-and-down special-teams units later today.
* Rodriguez said cornerback-turned-safety Dane Cruikshank is "a really good blitzer" and could be used more in that capacity to try to create negative plays for opposing offenses. I hinted at that earlier this week.