What’s it like being Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez’s starting quarterback?
That’s what Arizona starting quarterback Anu Solomon told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday.
“It’s something that he wants us to be. He wants us to be uncomfortable. He wants us to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, so he puts us through those uncomfortable situations in practice. So when it comes to game day we’re comfortable and we have fun,” Solomon said.
It would seem as though the Wildcats are having fun so far. After starting the season 3-0, Tucson will play host to ESPN’s College GameDay as Arizona opens up Pac-12 play against UCLA.
After starting all fourteen games in 2014 as a freshman, Solomon finished the season with an impressive 3,793 passing yards –the 12th most among FBS quarterbacks.
As the first starting quarterback to return under Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, Solomon says he has seen himself grow a lot in his second year at the helm of the Arizona offense.
“I’ve learned a lot of things from him with coverages, defensive fronts and reasons why we do what we do. This year I’ve been seeing that more with him trusting me to make calls and see defensive coverages, what routes we want to choose to attack those coverages,” Solomon said. “The game – I don’t want to say it’s slowing down – but I can pick it up. But there’s still more to learn.”
Solomon along with USC’s Cody Kessler are the only two quarterbacks with 10 touchdowns this season without throwing an interception so far, thanks in part to a deep receiving core.
“I’m blessed just to have them on my team,” Solomon said.
“Each guy brings different skills to the table. With the outside you’ve got David Richards and Cayleb Jones and Trey Griffey – he’ll be back soon. But on the inside with the skill receivers as well with Nate (Phillips), Samajie (Grant), Shun (Brown), Johnny Jackson, Jonathan Haden, I can just spread the ball out and have them do what they love to do.”
The Arizona offense currently ranks sixth in total offense with an average of 584.7 yards per game and third in scoring offense with an average of 54.3 points per game.
While the Wildcats are currently ranked 16th in the AP Poll, the 2014 Pac-12 South champions began the season at 23rd – causing some to think that they were under-ranked.
Solomon says those rankings don’t matter though.
“As a team we really don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff but we want the respect that we earned. That being said we don’t feel like we’ve earned it yet.”
Being in the national spotlight this weekend, gives Solomon hope that they can change that.
“With this game coming up, with a great program that UCLA has, that’s just going to prove something to the nation – hopefully.”