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Rich Rodriguez is making a mistake in not starting Khalil Tate

NCAA Football: Northern Arizona at Arizona
Khalil Tate
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Rodriguez is currently residing on a seat made of duraflame logs. Many believe he will be relieved of his coaching duties should this year not be a marked improvement upon last year’s 3-9 disastrous campaign. After losing to Houston (a game the Wildcats should have won), Arizona faces what would appear to be its last game of this year where it will be expected to win by multiple touchdowns (let alone win). This is a game where the Wildcats will need to muster up some momentum before beginning its conference slate. The team needs a spark. As such, this is the time to make the switch from Brandon Dawkins to Khalil Tate at quarterback.

Khalil Tate is an 18 year old sophomore. Brandon Dawkins, as a redshirt junior, has had more than ample opportunity to show that he can achieve any semblance of sustained success in leading the Arizona offense, but has failed to do so. Both quarterbacks are run first quarterbacks who do so impressively. While neither has shown much promise as a passer, Tate would appear to be a more accurate one, something that is extremely important in RichRod’s offense. What coach Rodriguez should see is that putting in the younger Tate and finding some promise in his young offense is something that could not only benefit the program, but the coach’s ability to remain at the helm of said program.

To be honest, UTEP (UA’s opponent Friday night) is not and will not be much of a challenge. Arizona could beat them with Manny Wilkins playing quarterback, let alone Dawkins or Tate. This week amounts to a perfect opportunity to get Tate valuable experience against an opponent he can do well against. Everyone remembers the disaster that was Tate’s first career start, last year against USC as a 17 year old freshman. Since that start, Tate seems perpetually stuck with only getting playing time when Arizona is down big and/or its starting quarterback is struggling mightily. Why not finally give him his own chance to build something? The cons to Tate thus far have been that he fails to always play within the offense and subjects himself to too many hits. If he is going to learn, he needs to play. At this point, what does Arizona have to lose?

It is illogical to say Brandon Dawkins gives Arizona a better chance to win more games this year than Arizona did last year. Dawkins played in 10 games last year, to go along with his two starts already this year. The team was simply unable to progress behind Dawkins. For a team struggling to be competitive, the time to make a change is now, if not two weeks ago. For the betterment of the program and for Tate’s career, he should be given this opportunity sooner rather than later.