Dawkins accepting of role

Anu Solomon is the starting quarterback this season, but that has not deterred Brandon Dawkins. Read on to see how he is handling his redshirt season and more.

Brandon Dawkins is not used to what he has seen in his freshman year at Arizona. After all, it's not every day a star player for his high school doesn't see one snap of action an entire season.

Still, Dawkins is taking everything in stride and is using his redshirt year to get better.

"It’s been great," Dawkins said. "It’s definitely a year to make you fall in love with the sport again and make you take a step back and look at the game as a whole.

"Coming in and learning a whole new system has been a change, but obviously with coaches like Rodriguez and Smith, they go over everything step by step making it easier to pick up.

"It’s been a good year for me so far just to be able to step back and get acquainted with the college level and speed of the game and having Jesse and Anu around to pass down knowledge here and there. I am trying to be a fly catcher and get every bit of information they throw at me."

When discussing the major differences at this level, Dawkins is quick to point out what he has had to adjust to.

"The basic things, it is a lot different than high school," he said. "It is a lot faster and practices are a lot faster and more serious. There’s never really a break, you are always doing something and improving your game.

"The workouts in the summer were really killer, but you can’t prepare for those. You can see the way we have been playing in the fourth quarter in these close games, you can see our conditioning has come into play."

In addition, the speed of which Arizona moves is one of the bigger adjustments the freshman quarterback has had to make.

"The big thing was game speed," Dawkins said. "Coming in, that is the big change with every level you move up. That’s what I wanted to pick up as fast as possible and let the game slow down in a sense.

"You cant let everything go too fast. I haven’t gotten any game experience, but being out here with the team and coaches every day is a game for me in practice and I try to take it like that.

"Every single rookie period and scout period, I try to take every rep like a game rep and take it seriously to get better for next year when I hopefully have a shot at the job."

Having a closer look at Arizona's offense, Dawkins has been impressed with what the coaching staff has been able to build.

"Having success in the offense is big," Dawkins said. "There’s always an answer and that is a big reason why I chose this program. I know what Coach Rodriguez does and I know how his system works.

"There is always an option, never a play where you sit back and say there is nothing there. Especially with the run, pass game we have. The offense is built to put points on the board and there’s no one answer on defense for the offense that we run."

Dawkins' role is unique in that he is not only learning Arizona's plays, but has to learn each opponent the Wildcats face as well.

"We go into the quarterbacks meetings before practice and we have our playbooks and we write down all of the new plays that get put in," Dawkins said. "We go to the meetings, but we don’t take any reps with the offense during practice, it is always scout.

"That makes it kind of difficult, but obviously having my playbook from the whole year and camp, I am able to go home and study and learn the plays, which I feel I am able to do really well.

"I have always struggled with learning offenses, it has been a hard point for me, but here they make it simple to learn and just to be able to go through and learn it and take a year to step back has been great."


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