Arizona Football: Wildcats vs. Grambling State Tigers, three questions

Sep 3, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Football: Wildcats quarterback Anu Solomon (12) passes the ball during the third quarter against the Brigham Young Cougars at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cougars won 18-16. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

ZonaZealots asked their contributors three questions about Arizona Football this week.

This past Thursday we found out that Arizona Football starting quarterback Anu Solomon and safety Tellas Jones are not listed as injured, but they are listed as questionable. Questionable players should leave the door open to more quarterbacks getting a chance this week against the GSU Tigers who blew out their opponent, Virginia University at Lynchburg 72-12. Their QB is a former Ole’ Miss player DeVante Kincade. Kincade seems to be Grambling’s biggest threat.

ZonaZealots asked their contributors three questions about Arizona Football this week, and it’s great to get everyone’s perspective.  Grambling State, from what we see, should not be a huge challenge this week for the Wildcats. That said, you never underestimate an opponent.

Here’s a video of last weeks highlights against BYU:

1) Which quarterback should start and why?

Shereen Rayan:

Honestly, I am not at practice, so I don’t know which QB looks better than the others. I can just tell you what I have seen with my own eyes and that is both Brandon Dawkins and Khalil Tate are dual-threat quarterbacks who are not afraid to run with the ball.

For a third year quarterback against a mediocre team, Solomon should have shined. Although he took the blame and Rich Rod told us it’s not all his fault, I think it’s a great time to see what the others can contribute

This would be a great game to get Dawkins and Tate in along with Zach Werlinger to give them some in-game practice and to hush critics about starting Anu Solomon against BYU.

After all, Rodriguez did that last season once the win was secured in the score.


Brandon Dawkins will start at QB this weekend, but it won’t be a difficult decision for Rich Rodriguez given that Anu Solomon now has an undisclosed knee injury. As it doesn’t sound serious, this actually comes at a perfect time for the Wildcats.

It allows Dawkins to get some good reps against an inferior opponent(s), while also getting the focus off Anu leading up to the Washington game on Sept 24. That’s where the real story now lies: assuming Dawkins plays well and Anu gets healthy, who is given the keys to the offense against the Huskies?

Peggy McClain:

Anu should start (unless there is an injury).  During the first half against BYU, I thought Rich Rod should have replaced him.  Looking back, I think it was the right decision to keep Anu in.  The early games against non-conference opponents exist to prepare the team for conference play.

There will be issues in any game 1.  If Coach had pulled the trigger while we were still in contention, it would have sent a negative signal to the entire team.  Rich Rod placed his trust in his starter and Arizona almost pulled it out.

Eric Townsend:

Anu Solomon, but barely. At the end of the day, despite his limitations, he is a veteran starter. What he lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in overall understanding of the offense and what RR is trying to run.
He played a pretty bad game against BYU, and until he proves he shouldn’t be the starter, then I think you just have to roll with it.
Oct 11, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez reacts against the Southern California Trojans at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 11, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez reacts against the Southern California Trojans at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2) What’s the biggest thing Rich Rodriguez can fix from the BYU game to be successful in the future 

Shereen Rayan:

As he says, his own play calling. Running the ball up the middle over and over again in the first half got Arizona nowhere. He did call a play for a tight end which impressed me and it was successful. Throw some of those curve balls in there, along with instructing the quarterback what to do if really what you need on third down is just the best field position.

Nov 28, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats running back Nick Wilson (28) runs the ball for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the 88th annual Territorial Cup at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 42-35 to win the Pac-12 South title. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Stress communication on the Defense, make sure everyone is aware what to do.

Saturday is a very good time to try the rest of his quarterbacks. See which one the offense responds to the most during a live game.


The biggest area of improvement following the BYU game comes in the form of offensive emphasis/game-plan. Given its amount of quality receivers, Arizona did not do well at getting the BYU defense spread out. Rich Rod needs to emphasize getting the ball into the hands of the speedy wideouts with quick outs and flat screens to not only create a rhythm for the offense but also to allow more breathing room for Nick Wilson and company.
Peggy McClain:

Work with Anu on seeing the entire field better and releasing the ball in a timely manner.  There were times he had guys open down field and Anu seemed to miss them or was entirely focused on someone else.

Eric Townsend:

Tailoring the offense to Anu’s limitations, including hot reads, quick passes, etc. Also, he needs to get the running game more involved, and early. Nick Wilson only had 17 carries, that’s not enough, and Orlando Bradford and J. Taylor only had one carry each.

He needs to go with his strengths, and our running Game is one of them.

Sep 5, 2015; Berkeley, CA, USA; Grambling State Tigers band

3) Who will shine this coming week in the game against Grambling State?

Shereen Rayan:

Again, Nick Wilson, he will capitalize on his last performance. When the Cats pull ahead, look to see Orlando Bradford and true freshman J.J. Taylor get some action.

Coach Rod has to rest Tellas Jones (ankle – questionable) for the upcoming five-game in-conference schedule. Look for Dane Cruikshank to shine again, along with Paul Magloire and I think Sani Fuamaono will also have a great game.

Trey Griffey and Nate Phillips will get their share of grabs, but I believe that this is the game that Samajie Grant will shine. He has prepared to shine for quite awhile, and you can just tell with his body language, he wants to perform and win.

Preston Collins: 

October 3, 2015; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive end <a rel=

I’m going out on a limb and saying the Dawkins comes in at QB and makes it look like he’s been the starter for two years and puts up big numbers. After all, it is Grambling State.

Peggy McClain:

The offense.  They will be at home, the stadium better be loud, and hopefully the coaches will call a variety of plays with a variety of personnel.  I think if they have some early success it will be contagious for the rest of team, and we can get our first victory of 2016.

Eric Townsend:

Once again Paul Magloire and Dane Cruikshank. The two had great weeks last week defensively, and I have been confident in saying these two will have significant impacts this year.

Offensively, with Anu’s health being an uncertainty, look for Brandon to showcase what he can do against an inferior Grambling State team.

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This should be fun Wildcats fans. Let’s see who comes closest to predicting what will happen and if anything will get fixed during the game against the Tigers on Saturday.

Go to the Game, wear red, stay the whole game and BearDown!

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