How a car wreck impacted Arizona’s QB race

Jesse Scroggins (left) is batting with Anu Solomon, Connor Brewer and Jerrard Randall to be Arizona's starting quarterback.

TUCSON, Ariz. — There was a reason why Arizona quarterback Jesse Scroggins began fall camp in the Breakfast Club.

It’s a series of grueling early-morning workouts, supervised by the man himself, Rich Rodriguez, for those players who failed to report with the fitness standards demanded by the coaches. Not a club you want to join.

Scroggins was there because he missed about a month of summer training. No fault of his own, though. He was in involved in a car accident in late spring when another driver "T-boned" his car.

"A guy wasn’t paying attention," Scroggins said.

"He was coming straight at me and he T-boned me, got me on my side, cracked my windshield and my car shifted right, into a telephone pole, totaled. It was really hard to bounce back, because my life could have been gone.

"There are people out there that don’t pay attention, that don’t care. There’s bad people in the world."

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As it was, Scroggins suffered a concussion — at least his second while at Arizona — and he said he missed three to four weeks of valuable workout time.

It was the latest Arizona obstacle for Scroggins, a former USC quarterback trying to make the most of his second chance. He arrived in Tucson in January 2013 but barely took a snap during spring drills because of toe surgery. Then, he didn’t have much of a chance to make up ground on B.J. Denker in the fall because of a concussion early in camp.

Now this, just as he’s trying to win a four-man race at quarterback.

"Just a case of bad luck," he said.

Scroggins, in trying to return to peak shape, started slowly in camp this year and might be playing catch-up to redshirt freshman Anu Solomon as the Aug. 29 against UNLV nears. We’ll see. Scroggins, a fifth-year senior, has a strong, albeit questionably accurate, arm. His background is as a pocket passer, and he has the necessary athleticism to be a full-service quarterback in Rodriguez’s zone-read offense.

Rodriguez has yet to make any major pronouncements about the favorites in the quarterback race, which includes junior Jerrard Randall and sophomore Connor Brewer.

"At the beginning (of camp), it was a little rocky, but I’ve adapted, 100 percent," Scroggins said. "I just hope I can be healthy and, I don’t want to say be the guy, but get my opportunity."

While the car accident had some influence on Arizona’s quarterback race, its effect on Scroggins was far greater.

"It has been a blessing, man. It really has," he said.

"It really affected me, my family, my brother, my sister. Ever since then, I just try to be a better person for them and be a better example. And I tell them, if I catch you with your phone (while driving), I’m going to kick your butt."

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