Denker ready for season

B.J. Denker may be behind one of the better quarterbacks in the Pac-12, but he is still prepared to play. Read on for his thoughts on his role, teammates, and much more.

Ever since Rich Rodriguez arrived in Tucson, Matt Scott has been the projected starter. Still, Rodriguez needed backup options and Arizona's depth chart was anything but pretty.

To fill the void, Rodriguez went out and recruited Cerritos College quarterback B.J. Denker. The junior accepted an offer to come play football at Arizona and transferred over the summer.

"Nine months ago, I didn't know I'd be playing football at Arizona," Denker said. "I didn't know I'd be playing in the Pac-12. It's a big dream of mine and it's all been pretty surreal. I'm just taking it one day at a time and living the dream."

Since arriving on campus, Denker says that Tucson has welcomed him with open arms.

"Everything's going pretty great," Denker said. "I'm having a blast here in Tucson and I'm enjoying my experience right now."

The junior transfer has been the back up to starter Matt Scott all of camp, but isn't taking the depth chart into consideration when he steps on the field for practice.

"I knew it was going to be tough and hard," he said. "I've been having fun and taking every practice and every play with the attitude of having fun, but making myself better. I want to get better as a player and a teammate and I'm just enjoying it all right now.

"I try and practice every day like I'm the starter. As the back-up, you're always just one play away from being out on the field. I don't think about the depth chart. I go out there every day like I'm trying to win a football game."

Denker's biggest surprise of the fall has been the tightness of Rodriguez's ship. The coaches take every second of practice seriously and it has impressed him

"The way that the coaches run things here is like a business," he said. "The coaching staff and everyone else takes everything serious and it makes us feel like we are in a business at a job. That helps us be better men and better players.

"It's pretty intense sometimes during practice. If you mess up during practice, the coaches are going to get on you. They want to win and they want us to be the best players possible."

With the attention to detail that the coaches stress, Denker has begun to learn that the details matter when reading defenses and handling the football.

"Coach Smith stresses ball control a ton," he said. "Taking care of the football is always the number one priority. After that, he wants us to make the correct reads and get the ball to the play makers.

Being in control of the offense on the field, Denker has seen the big play capability of the other offensive players. There are a few that stand out, but he claims that every teammate can be dangerous.

"Dan Buckner and Terrance Miller are big guys on offense for us," Denker said. "I've been working with the second team a lot, so Tyler Slavin is my big target there. Everyone has made a big play here and there and that makes our offense dangerous."

With being in control of the offense, comes the opposite ability with the defense. The quarterback has to go against a defense that he can't control, and one that is coming after him every play.

"Tevin Hood is a beast," Denker said. "Every time I start feeling pressure, he's always in my face. Anybody that's trying to kill me, I'm not a big fan of. Jake Fischer and Marquis Flowers are two of those guys who are always in there right now."

Just like the freshmen, Denker has also had to deal with the transition to a new program and a new offense. Often, there are many differences, but in his case there are few enough that his transition has gone well.

"There's nothing crazy with the offense yet," Denker said. "We are just learning the Rich Rodriguez offense. He's been doing it for a long time and he's gotten good at the transition.

"The transition has been pretty smooth. Terminology is the same as what I knew before. Most of it is just making the reads on the defense and putting the ball in the athletes' hands."

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