Smith looking to narrow down quarterbacks

Arizona has yet to find a starting quarterback. Read on for Rod Smith's take on the competition, if there could be more than one, and more.

Quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Rod Smith has a bit of a harder job this season, as he has to deal with an open quarterback competition rather than having a veteran in Matt Scott.

"It makes us work harder and it makes those guys work harder," Smith said. "It's not that those guys can't do it. That's not the message we are trying to send. Matt was an experienced guy. You knew he has been around the block. There weren't as many little things that you had to teach Matt because he kind of got it already.

"These guys are inexperienced for the most part, so you have to teach them every little part. When to throw the ball away, when to take care of the ball when it is fourth down or if it is right before the half, don't turn it over, give us a chance to get a field goal, don't take a sack. All of those things you are constantly teaching whereas Matt you didn't do quite as much of that because he already got it."

Just because there isn't an answer at quarterback yet does not mean that Smith is currently uncomfortable with the situation behind center.

"We have had it before," he said. "It's not that they are doing badly. We have some very inexperienced guys. We have Jesse, who missed all spring and doesn't have any experience with our offense. We have Anu, who is a freshman, Javelle who is a redshirt freshman. We have a lot of inexperience. Not to make excuses, but we have a lot of people jam-packed a little bit in terms of getting separation."

With a little more than a week to go before the opening game against NAU, Smith and the rest of the offensive coaching staff are trying to narrow things down.

"We are trying to pare it down as much as we can, still trying to get four guys reps if we can," Smith said. "From those guys, we are going to keep paring it down and keep evaluating."

There is always a chance that a quarterback will perform better in a game than he does in practice, but Smith is not confident that Arizona currently has a quarterback that fits that belief.

"I don't know if we have any of those types of guys right now," he said. "A lot of times, you have the scrimmages and more live stuff, sometimes that becomes more apparent and that kid stands out a little bit more.

"We haven't had the luxury to do that as much, so it is kind of tough to see if you have that type of guy, but we will soon find out."

At this point, it is still a possibility that Arizona will try at least two quarterbacks in the first game in order to see where they are at.

"We are going to play the best guy to give us a chance," Smith said. "If it happens to be a couple of guys, so be it. If it's not, then it is going to be whoever we feel most comfortable with as a staff.

"It is going to be the best guy that hopefully is prepared to move the chains, score points, and win the ball game."

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