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Arizona coach Rodriguez on starting QB: ‘The truth is I don’t really know’

It’s the question everyone wants an answer to, Rich Rodriguez included.

Who will be Arizona’s starting quarterback in 2014?

As the Wildcats prepare for the 2014 season, they are still searching for an answer.

Whoever earns the job will be the fourth different QB to start Week 1 in the last four seasons, which is a trend that usually does not lead to much success.

But after Matt Scott took the reigns in 2012 and led the team to eight wins and B.J. Denker did the same last season, the fact that Arizona has yet to name a replacement is not something that seems to bother the head coach.

“Even if I knew I wouldn’t tell you,” Rodriguez told the Pac-12 Networks during day one of Pac-12 Media Day Wednesday. “The truth is I really don’t know, and I may not know even by the first game.

“But the good part is the talent is there, and he’s got some guys he can throw to which helps as well, so we’ll figure it out.”

As of now, the frontrunners for the job would appear to be redshirt senior Jesse Scroggins, a former USC recruit, Jerrard Randall, a former LSU recruit, Connor Brewer, who transferred from Texas, and Anu Solomon, a redshirt freshman who was with Arizona all last season.

All offer plenty of talent, but none of have thrown a pass for Arizona, and that uncertainty is likely one of the reasons the Pac-12 media is picking Arizona to finish fourth in the South.

But as Rodriguez said, whoever wins the job will have plenty of excellent options to throw the ball to.

Arizona has returning players Nate Phillips, Samajie Grant and Trey Griffey and will also have transfers Cayleb Jones and Davonte Neal, who are now eligible to play after sitting out last season. Add in the return of a healthy Austin Hill, and the Wildcats have one of the deepest receiver groups in the conference, and likely even the country.

Last year’s weakness is this season’s strength.

“This time last year we were really concerned,” Rodriguez said, pointing to Hill being out for the season with an ACL injury and the team being forced to rely on true freshman Phillips and Grant.

“So we had a lot of concerns, not only that, but we like to play seven or eight at a time in our system,” he said. “Well this year that’s a problem we don’t worry about right now, hopefully we stay healthy.”

In a way, the receiver position is the exact opposite of the quarterback one, at least in terms of experience and fanfare. But someone will eventually emerge as the starter by the Aug. 29 opener against UNLV. Until then, the battle will continue, with the practice reps split pretty evenly between the quarterbacks for at least a little while longer.

“By the time it gets to a week or a week and a half before the game, we’ve got to pare it down to two guys,” Rodriguez said. “So the first two, three weeks of camp we’re going to work really hard as far as evaluating, getting guys in situations, putting them under a stressful situation in practice to see who can handle it. And then hopefully they perform well in the first game.”