Just in case there were any doubts, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez reiterated that the Wildcats’ quarterback competition is legitimate.
Among the people he told: incumbent QB Anu Solomon.
Rodriguez on Monday met with several players, including Solomon. Rodriguez appealed to Solomon’s competitive side, which he doesn’t necessarily reveal in overt ways.
“I said, ‘We’re all in a situation where we always want to prove ourselves. I feel that way. I feel like I have to prove myself every year, even more so now, and I hope you feel the same way.’ And he does,” Rodriguez said. “After I talked to him, he said, ‘Coach, you said the exact same things I was thinking about myself.’
“I think he’ll have a great summer, and I think we’ll have a great competition between him and Brandon Dawkins to be the starter. That may be ongoing throughout the season. You’re going to see a revived Anu that’s ready to compete starting this fall.”
Rodriguez, addressing the media at Arizona Stadium as part of a season-ticket promotion, also made clear that opening the quarterback competition isn’t an indication that Solomon has “slipped.”
“It’s because Brandon Dawkins has gotten better,” Rodriguez said.
Dawkins is entering his redshirt-sophomore season. He played the last three quarters of the 2015 regular-season finale against Arizona State, accumulating 383 yards of offense and accounting for two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions.
Solomon, who will be a redshirt junior this year, has started most of the past two seasons. He passed for fewer yards and touchdowns last season than in 2014, but had a better completion percentage, TD-to-interception ratio and efficiency rating. He also missed two games and parts of others because of injuries.
Receiver Trey Griffey said Solomon’s competitive streak emerges when they play video games.
“If he wins, he’ll definitely let you know that he won,” Griffey said. “Any athlete, they’re competitive. Some might not show it (or) they have different ways of showing it. But he definitely is competitive.”
Regardless of whether he makes a change, Rodriguez hopes to enter the season with two quarterbacks who are capable of winning games.
“And I think we will,” he said.
On satellite camps
Add Rodriguez to the list of college coaches who aren’t happy with the NCAA’s decision to ban so-called “satellite” recruiting camps. Rodriguez described the decision, reached earlier this month, as “silly” and “disingenuous.”
“I don’t know how that rule passed so quickly,” he said. “I don’t see how it’s that detrimental to the game of college football. … It’s been overwhelmingly more good than bad.”
The SEC and ACC pushed hardest for the ban on satellite camps, in large part because Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh began infiltrating their territory. Despite opposition from Washington State coach Mike Leach and others, the Pac-12 was among the conferences that voted for the ban.
Oliver Luck, the NCAA’s executive vice president of regulatory affairs, reportedly said Monday that the NCAA might revisit the decision.
“We may have gone too far in one direction,” UA athletic director Greg Byrne said. “This will give us an opportunity to find a way to readdress some of the concerns people have and hopefully find a happy medium that works for us long term.”
Advocates of satellite camps say they give under-the-radar prospects an affordable opportunity to be seen by multiple schools. The ban would force schools to conduct camps on campus or at nearby facilities regularly used for football practices or games.
Just as Arizona started and finished spring football earlier than usual, the university got a jump on its season-ticket campaign.
The theme this year is “Our House,” featuring the hashtag #OURHOUSE for the accompanying social media push. Rodriguez said the program’s goal is to set a record for season-ticket sales.
“Let’s break that record,” he said. “Let’s send a message to everybody that football’s important at the University of Arizona.”
Byrne said season-ticket sales are “on a very strong pace right now to exceed our numbers from last year.”
UA sold 22,355 season tickets last season. The all-time high is 27,779 in 1994.
Byrne said additional upgrades are coming to Arizona Stadium, including new individual seats in the 100 level.
The long-term objective is to renovate the entire stadium “to continue to improve the infrastructure and the experience our fans have,” Byrne said. “It’s going to cost a lot of resources to do that.”
Earlier this year, Byrne put on hold a plan to charge incoming students a $200 annual fee to help with renovations after receiving strong opposition to the proposal.