Scrimmage Observations: Offense

Arizona had its annual Spring Game on Saturday in front of over over 7,000 fans. Read on to find out who did well on offense, what the quarterback situation was like and more.

It was a clear, mildly windy day in Arizona Stadium on Saturday and in front of 7,100 fans and several Pac-12 Network cameras, Rich Rodriguez and his football team showcased what they had been working on for the last six weeks.

After participating in several pre-scrimmage drills, the Wildcats ran plays, while sprinkling in a few fan competitions for the next 90 minutes. The offense showed improvement, looking its best in the three spring games since Rodriguez arrived in Tucson.

The two most important positions for any offense are major question marks for Arizona right now as the Wildcats lost quarterback B.J. Denker to graduation and running back Ka'Deem Carey to the NFL.

Replacing Denker may be the most important task for the coaching staff as there have been mixed reviews throughout the spring. However, on Saturday, Jesse Scroggins and junior Jerrard Randall were both impressive in their own ways.

Scroggins played well, though he had his miscues, fumbling a snap and lofting a ball to the end zone that was intercepted. He also had another pass to the corner of the end zone that was nearly intercepted, but the defender landed with one of his feet out of bounds.

Despite those errors, Scroggins made the right reads on nearly every play, checked down when he needed to, and even showed off his running ability, picking up a handful of first downs with his feet.

Randall, on the other hand, had very few mistakes, but was also limited in the plays that were called for him. The junior threw the ball less, but when he did, there was a powerful zip behind it. The strength of the pass seemed to be more than some receivers could handle, as his receivers sometimes struggled with the strength of them.

If he can become more consistent with his accuracy, Randall has the tools to be an elite dual-threat quarterback and he showed off his running ability a little bit in the scrimmage.

Most notably, on a third and long from his own goal line, the signal caller hustled out of the pocket, picking up about fifteen yards on a quarterback keeper and got his squad a first down.

After Randall and Scroggins, freshman Anu Solomon and sophomore Conner Brewer are the next two in line. Solomon showed some struggles with accuracy, over throwing several wide open receivers, while also fumbling twice. However, he did throw two touchdowns and showed glimpses of why he came in so highly regarded.

Brewer looked solid, making good choices and attempting to play within himself. He even showed off some wheels, turning a broken play into a long run, but his arm strength is still the biggest concern for the Texas transfer.

Brewer had Austin Hill open and could have had a big play with a solid throw, but instead, the quarterback threw a big hanging hook that lofted in the air just long enough to see Hill get blown up by Blake Brady.

Finding a quality starting quarterback may be a difficult thing to do, but trying to fill the shoes left by Carey at running back is going to be just about impossible, even as a committee.

You could make a case that most likely candidate to start at running back is Nick Wilson, who will not put on a Wildcat uniform until he arrives on campus in the fall.

Terris Jones-Grigsby has been making some noise of his own in the spring and it was easy to tell why during his time on the field. Jones-Grigsby scored twice during the spring game, with his first coming from roughly 25-yards out in the opening drive. The senior made nice cuts and showed some speed and power on multiple plays throughout the day.

If the season started tomorrow, Jones-Grigsby would likely be the starter, but even with his great play, that decision would mean more about the relative underachievement of redshirt freshmen Zach Green and Pierre Cormier.

Cormier had a few decent runs, stretching the field horizontally, while picking up big yardage. Green on the other hand was limited and picked up just five yards on five carries in limited work.

Even with Jones-Grigsby leading the charge on Saturday, the job wasn't won or lost in the spring for any of the backs. Although Carey was the main rusher last season, it is likely that the Wildcats could have a platoon of backs see the field this season until one clearly separates himself from the others.

The final note that can be taken away from the spring game is that DaVonte' Neal and Cayleb Jones are clearly two of the most dangerous weapons on the football field.

Neal slipped past defenders and threw a stiff arm on his way to a touchdown and Jones played sparingly, but seemed to get open at will, scoring a touchdown on a slant route without a defender around him.

Those two weren't the only ones to get in on the action. Trey Griffey made a fantastic one-handed catch around a defender, Abraham Mendivil led all receivers with four catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns, and Samajie Grant even got in the backfield for a handful of plays.

It wasn't a pretty Spring Game, but it was enough to get some of the younger players on the field in front of the fans and cameras. There was still plenty that has been left unseen, like Neal and Jones playing both sides of the ball.

Explosive threat T.J. Johnson sprained his ankle stepping on his roommate's phone and did not play a single snap.

There are still questions about how Brandon Dawkins and Nick Wilson will do once they arrive on campus as well.

Spring football is where players make adjustments, improvements, and leaps in their attitudes and skills.

Now that it is over, their attention will turn towards the fall and getting prepared to compete for the top spot on the depth chart.


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