When Rich Rodriguez decided to pull Khalil Tate’s redshirt on Saturday, it was a clear risk.
Sure, it could have led to a comeback win and Tate would have been made the hero, but he also could have played poorly and made Rodriguez’s life even more difficult moving forward.
Thankfully for Arizona, Tate played well and the reality of the situation, in this writer’s opinion at least, is that Tate made Rodriguez’s decision for him.
In order to understand why that is, you have to start at the beginning and understand how these decisions work.
Tate comes from one of the best schools in the country in terms of producing D-I talent and it’s not every day Arizona can go in there and pull a four-star recruit that had offers from just about everybody.
The reason why Arizona was able to secure Tate’s commitment is because it guaranteed him a shot to play at quarterback and no other school did that throughout the process.
If Arizona went back on that promise, it would have ruined its chances to go into Serra and considering Tate has plenty of friends in Southern California, it would have created a situation that Arizona would have had to put major work towards cleaning up.
That’s not to say that it would have been the end of Southern California recruiting or anything similar or that Arizona wouldn’t have been able to clean things up, but it definitely would have had consequences.
Arizona, to its credit, has handled this situation perfectly up until now. However, Rodriguez and company now have a major decision to make that could once again have major ramifications for the program.
Is there anyway that Rodriguez could go back to Dawkins or even Anu Solomon?
You’re going to get the people that say if Tate is a team player he will do whatever it takes or that he could even just redshirt next season with Burmeister, let Dawkins and Solomon battle it out, and enter the competition once Dawkins leaves if that’s how Rodriguez chooses to play it out.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
This is the age of tweeting out every offer, wanting to play right away, making promises to land recruits, and other similar things that coaches have to do in order to land players.
Tate is unique in that even though he could have gone anywhere, he was pretty quiet in the recruiting process.
With that being said, it doesn’t mean he is going to sit there while his future is in doubt or played with.
Is Arizona doing that? Probably not, but doesn’t it come off that way if Tate doesn’t play again this season?
We’re not in position to say that Tate should get every snap the rest of the season because that’s not fair to Dawkins.
Even though fans are quick to turn on a player and get excited by the newest and coolest thing, Dawkins has played well enough to earn the starting spot.
Tate also played well enough against UCLA to at least earn another look.
Thus, in our opinion, the result is simple. You play Dawkins and Tate, see where that takes you, and ride whoever has the hot hand for that game.
It may not be completely fair to either quarterback because it puts pressure on each of them to perform, but it makes sense to at least try and see if one outplays the other.
If that happens, Rodriguez’s decision is right there for him. If not, you have two competent quarterbacks that can pose problems for the opposing defense.
Anu Solomon is the odd man out here and although we would rather go with the others, in a way it’s not fair to Solomon either.
You could make an argument that Solomon deserves another chance and we bet that a small part of Rodriguez feels the same way.
However, we’ve gotten a glimpse of the future in the past few weeks and it’s just hard to go with the past with that in mind.
Rodriguez gets paid the big bucks to make this decision and we tell him what decision we would make as if he would listen to us.
For us, the answer is Dawkins, if healthy, and Tate. We’ll find out what his is in a matter of days.
Either way, there is a lot riding on the decision.