Although the majority of spring practice was closed, we were still able to learn plenty about where things currently stand.
For starters, the quarterback position remains Anu Solomon’s to lose, but the grip he has on it may not be as tight as it once was.
If we had to guess, Solomon is going to be the starting quarterback for the opening game against BYU, but his leash is not going to be very long.
Brandon Dawkins proved that he is a capable quarterback against Arizona State and while the coaches ideally would have more game proof, his performance in that game has caused the staff to give him a more serious look.
In addition, Dawkins has been criticized in the past for not taking things as seriously as he should and sources say that game acted as a wakeup call of sorts.
Dawkins is going to make Solomon earn the starting job and he has improved a ton in the past year.
If Solomon slips up and Dawkins keeps progressing as he has, it is not nearly as far-fetched as it was last year to think that Dawkins will be right there to take the job.
In order for that to happen, Dawkins must show that he understands the offense as well as Solomon.
As it currently stands, Solomon is clearly the leader in that category. He knows the offense much better than the other signal callers and, because of that, Rich Rodriguez and Rod Smith trust him the most.
Dawkins has to win that trust or he has no chance of winning the starting job, but the positive is that he has made great strides in that area.
The wildcard in all of this is Khalil Tate. We don’t feel confident saying that he will start this year unless there is an injury or he really comes on strong, but we do think Tate is in line to play.
Rod Smith hinted at it a bit when he said that Tate was the most athletic quarterback on the roster and he is a better thrower than people think as well.
The coaching staff may not admit this, but Tate is the prototypical Rodriguez quarterback. He has the athleticism, arm strength, and mental tools to get the offense to where Arizona wants it to be.
The issue for him is that he simply has not been at it long enough. Solomon and Dawkins are obviously going to understand the offense better because they have been in it.
The summer will be huge for Tate because it will allow him to show not only what he learned in spring, but in the time off as well.
If Tate can enter summer practice as an improved quarterback and keep up that progression, we just can’t see how the coaches choose to keep such a dynamic player off the field.
Do we expect him to take 50 percent of the snaps right away? Probably not, but we’re confident in saying he will get an opportunity this season.