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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Solomon ready for breakout sophomore season

Tyler Baker

Arizona quarterbacker Anu Solomon throws a pass while playing Colorado on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. The Wildcats dropped the game on Homecoming weekend.

The Arizona Wildcats began last season with a question at the quarterback position. It was unclear who would be the starter until a couple of weeks before game day. Thus began the Aun Solomon era.

As a redshirt freshman, Solomon had a record-breaking season. He passed for 3,793 yards, a school record for a freshman, and threw for 28 touchdowns.

Solomon will face a familiar opponent this Thursday when the Wildcats open up their season against the University of Texas at San Antonio at home. Solomon finds it easier to prepare against a team they have seen in the past.

“When you’re preparing for a team that you played last year, you kind of know what they do on certain situations,” Solomon said. “Right now, we’re studying them. We know they’re a good team.”

Last season, Arizona and UTSA went right down to the last play of the game. Safety Jared Tevis sealed the game with an interception that prevented the Wildcats from being upset on the road. Solomon passed for 231 yards on 17 completions and a touchdown, an 85-yard score to Cayleb Jones on the first play from scrimmage.

After that score the game was evenly matched. Tevis’ interception stopped the Roadrunners on their final drive, ending both the game and the Wildcats’ fear of an upset. The final score was 26-23.

The game was also Solomon’s first road start for Arizona.

“The stadium was very loud,” Solomon said of what he remembered from that game. “Confidence built up on that first play where Cayleb took it all the way to the house. Other than that, I think I got too comfortable with everything. So I just got to pick it up and be consistent.”

Solomon, like his teammates, is ready to start playing against someone that is not his teammates.

“I always joke around with Will [Parks]. I’m tired of beating Will in one-on-one coverage,” he said.

There will undoubtedly be mistakes made on the first game of the season. The team as a whole will have their rust, but Solomon likes what he sees from the offense.

“We could be better at some things. Shout out to Nick Wilson,” Solomon said. “The things that he does—he contributes to the run game and opens up the pass game for us.”

With a deep receiving group, Solomon says slot receivers Samajie Grant and Nate Phillips will be vital in the flow of the offense.

“They contribute a lot to our offense,” Solomon said. “They just open up the big guys on the outside, with Dave Richards and Cayleb Jones.”

The offensive line has some unfortunate questions due to injury. Senior Cayman Bundage moved over from guard to replace the injured Carter Wood at center. Though the transition took some time, Solomon says Bundage has been improving.

“He’s doing better,” Solomon said. “He’s doing better on placing his snaps and just recognizing the calls for the offensive line.

Solomon feels the offensive line could be a strong unit this season as well.

“They have the potential to be better than last year. With Freddie [Tagaloa] and [Zach] Hemmila and Cayman—those guys gave me time with the defensive line that we have,” Solomon said. “It’s hard to block Scooby [Wright III] but if we have five seconds, if I have five seconds, that’s pretty good.”

Come Thursday night the speculation will end. The positional and strategic questions will be answered once kickoff gets underway.

For Solomon, the feeling of a home owner is a combination of nervousness and focus.

“Everything’s tingly. You get nervous. Everybody gets nervous,” Solomon said. “You just have those butterflies in your stomach but, all in all, we came here to play a game.

Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.

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