Washington Huskies

With Arizona starting QB questionable, Huskies’ focus turns to backup

The Huskies are likely to face Arizona backup quarterback Brandon Dawkins (13) when they play the Wildcats on Saturday. Starter Anu Solomon is listed as “questionable.”
The Huskies are likely to face Arizona backup quarterback Brandon Dawkins (13) when they play the Wildcats on Saturday. Starter Anu Solomon is listed as “questionable.” The Associated Press

Whenever the Washington Huskies prepare to face an opponent that could play more than one quarterback, coach Chris Petersen balks at questions about how the Huskies might ready themselves for such a situation.

They prepare for the system, he says. They focus on themselves. It doesn’t matter who the opponent – this week Arizona, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Tucson – ultimately lines up under center.

Besides, Petersen thinks he knows who it’s going to be, anyway. And with junior Anu Solomon officially listed on the Wildcats’ injury report as “questionable” to play with a knee injury, Petersen’s suspicion appears as if it will be confirmed.

“I think Dawkins will probably go,” Petersen said, referring to Arizona’s third-year sophomore Brandon Dawkins, who started at quarterback in each of the Wildcats’ last two games with Solomon sidelined by injury. “(He) had a really good game (last week). Solomon’s still, I think, recovering, but he may play, as well. We can’t worry about what they’re doing. We’ve just got to worry about what we’re doing, that we’re prepared.”

If Dawkins is indeed the guy, the Huskies had better be prepared to defend more than a few designed runs by the quarterback. Those calls are frequent in a Rich Rodriguez-coached offense, anyway, but they are more frequent for Dawkins than for Solomon.

In addition to completing 16 of 21 pass attempts for 235 yards and a touchdown last week against Hawaii, Dawkins also carried the ball 15 times for 118 yards and three touchdowns – and he rushed for 97 yards and two scores the week before against Grambling State.

“They’re similar guys,” UW defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said earlier this week when asked to compare Arizona’s two quarterbacks. “Dawkins might be a little bit faster, but they’re similar guys as far as what they do in that offense. They both scramble, they both sit in there and spit the ball out quick. Both can get it down the field. So the only difference is, one’s got more experience than the other. That’s about it.”

“He can change the game with his legs,” UW defensive end Joe Mathis said of Dawkins. “So we’ve got to keep him contained, keep hitting him.”

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