In many ways, the 2012 season is significantly dependent on the health and play at the quarterback position. An area that has largely been considered a strength for the past three seasons, signal-caller has become a slight area of concern heading into the upcoming campaign.
The starter is set. Back after redshirting in 2011 is Matt Scott. Originally the starting quarterback at the beginning of the 2009 season, Scott ultimately gave way to Nick Foles and Foles never surrendered the gig. Scott played a bit in 2010 while Foles was injured and he showed enough in that short span to give UA fans hope at quarterback for the 2012 season.
Another key for Scott is the arrival of Rich Rodriguez. While the previous offensive system worked well for Scott's natural abilities, many believe that system Rodriguez is implementing actually caters to Scott's strengths more.
As most already know, Scott is a dual-threat quarterback who is just as dangerous with his feet as he is with his arm. For his college career, Scott has compiled 632 yards on the ground on 99 carries and has rushed for a pair of touchdowns. Through the air, Scott has thrown for 1301 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions in his three seasons where he saw actual game action.
Scott is the outright starter heading into the season and none of the backups have a real chance of leapfrogging him for the job. The depth is consistent of several players who have zero experience at the NCAA level and it will cause the fans to become a little concerned if any one of those players is forced into action.
Arizona got a recent commit from the 2012 recruiting class in JUCO transfer B.J. Denker. A prospect with a pretty good arm, Denker doesn't necessarily match the type of quarterback Rodriguez utilizes in his system, but Denker gives the Wildcats a gun slinger with experience at a higher level than high school. Picking him up late as a backup to Scott could prove to be a very smart move in the long run.
Richard Morrison has seen plenty of reps at quarterback this offseason, mostly out of necessity. Morrison, originally recruited as a quarterback by the previous coaching regime, has spent the previous two seasons as a wide receiver and would seemingly fit the slot receiver role perfectly in Rodriguez's system. Still, Morrison has a strong arm and can make plays with his feet, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he were called upon if it were absolutely necessary.
Rodriguez has also given plenty of reps to walk-ons at quarterback. Both Tyler D'Amore and Alex Cappellini have received opportunities to show what they are made of during the offseason. Each player continues to improve but neither has done enough to garner any real excitement from the fan base. At the very least, Rodriguez will develop these players just like he would with the ones on scholarship and if either player is forced into action, it wouldn't be surprising to see them manage the game well.
Also look out for incoming freshmen Javelle Allen and Josh Kern. Allen was a bit under the radar when UA acquired his commitment but he appears to be a perfect fit for Rodriguez's offense. He can throw on the run and make plays on the ground when needed. He has displayed surprising accuracy on deep passes and can throw across his body. Allen obviously has some physical and mental growing to do, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him start at some point during his career.
Kern committed to the previous staff and stayed solid even after the change of coaches. Kern is generally known as a thrower, but he ran often in high school and has shown to move out of the pocket and produce with his legs when needed. Kern is another interesting prospect to keep an eye on and could battle for the job down the road.
If Arizona is to surprise some fans this upcoming season than Scott must stay healthy and the rest of the quarterbacks on the roster must prepare as if they are going to play. 2012 is a tricky year to predict for Arizona, but if it can get significant production from the quarterback position there is a good chance UA could have a much stronger year than anticipated.
State of the Roster: Quarterback
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