The Arizona Wildcats are off to a 2-0 start, with blowout wins over Northern Arizona University and UNLV.
The wins, over clearly inferior opponents, featured defensive touchdowns as well as an excellent running game.
One thing neither contest has had, though, is a quality passing effort from quarterback B.J. Denker.
The senior, who won a tightly-contested competition in camp for the starting role, has completed just 17-of-34 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown. He has yet to throw an interception and has rushed for 134 yards and three touchdowns, but has missed on too many throws to open receivers.
Yet, as a guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Tuesday, UA coach Rich Rodriguez did not sound too concerned.
“B.J. has played pretty well, particularly the decision-making in the run game, which in our offense, as we’ve said many times, our quarterback has to make a lot of decisions in the run game, too, and he’s been really sharp with that,” he said. “We’ve missed on a few passes, but we’ve been close and we’re getting better at that in practice.”
Indeed, the Wildcats’ run game has been excellent thus far, with the team tallying 703 yards and eight touchdowns on 103 carries. Senior Daniel Jenkins leads the way with 218 yards and one score, with All-American Ka’Deem Carey right behind with 171 yards and two scores.
But those statistics have been built against one FCS team and one bottom-tier FBS squad, and after Arizona’s game against UTSA Saturday, only Pac-12 foes — with Pac-12 defenses — remain on the schedule. So, it stands to reason, Denker is going to have to start connecting on a few more passes in order to keep defenses from stacking the box to stuff the run.
Rodriguez understands that, but sees promise in his senior signal caller.
“I think he’s been very efficient,” he said. “He’s been out there, he’s run the system, he’s been able to make a few adjustments, he’s seeing the game well, and I think he’ll keep getting better.”