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Arizona coach Rodriguez: B.J. Denker ‘is the leader in the clubhouse’ for QB job

LISTEN: Rich Rodriguez, head coach U of A

Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez is still not ready to name a starting quarterback for his team’s opener Friday against Northern Arizona University, but it is starting to sound like he knows who it will be.

“[B.J. Denker] is the leader in the clubhouse,” Rodriguez told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Wednesday. “We’ll see what happens. We’ve got another practice yet.”

Rodriguez has the unenviable task of trying to replace Matt Scott, who guided the Wildcats to a surprising 8-5 season last season as a fifth year senior. He is in the NFL now, leaving the coach to try and replace 3,620 yards passing, 632 yards rushing and 33 total touchdowns.

Denker, who threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns last season backing up Scott, was thought to have the edge. However, newcomers like Jesse Scroggins, who at one time played for USC, Nick Isham, who transferred from Louisiana Tech, and freshman Anu Solomon were all in the race at one point.

But it was Denker, a senior, who was ultimately able to separate himself from the pack.

“I’ve been pleased, I’ve really been on them, too,” Rodriguez said, adding he and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Rod Smith have been pushing their passers throughout camp. “Just trying to get those guys to elevate their play, because we know they don’t have a lot of experience.”

While things may have started out a bit rough, Rodriguez said he’s noticed an improvement in play over the last couple weeks. But, while he’s feeling better about where his team is at with regards to the position heading into the season opener, he cautioned that the battle will not come to a close at kickoff Friday night.

“They get evaluated every day,” Rodriguez said of the quarterbacks. “It’s not just the games; it’s also in practice.

“Certainly, the games are a big evaluation, and probably the biggest, but it’s like that at every position.”