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Arizona QB B.J. Denker: On hating USC, backup Javelle Allen and more

B.J. Denker is seventh in the Pac-12 in rushing. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

B.J. Denker is seventh in the Pac-12 in rushing. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Arizona Wildcats quarterback B.J. Denker, trying to bounce back after the passing game’s poor performance at Washington, met with the media for a few minutes after a recent practice.

Denker, who was 14 of 35 for 119 yards vs. the Huskies, is last in the Pac-12 in passing with 111.2 yards per game. He is, though, the top rushing quarterback in the conference at 70.0 yards per game.

He has a rush of at least 30 yards in each of four games.

Here are five questions with Denker:

Q: You’re from Southern California. What was it about USC growing up?

A: “I grew up a UCLA fan. I can’t stand USC. I hate USC. Ever since I was a kid, we were a UCLA family. But, it’s a hometown team, so it’s going to be good. I have over 100 family and friends coming. A lot of our guys are from Southern California, especially in the L.A. area, so we’re using that as motivation — hey, we didn’t get recruited there, let’s beat our hometown team.”

Q: What impresses you about backup quarterback Javelle Allen?

A: “I think he’s the most athletic quarterback we have on the roster. He’s big and strong, but he’s also fast. He’s going to be a talented kid. When they were talking about the quarterback competition — who’s B.J.’s biggest competition? — no one was saying Javelle. In the back of my head, I’m like, ‘Javelle is going to be a stud.’ He’s got all the tools. Once he puts it together on the field, getting comfortable and getting experience, he’s going to be a special player here.”

Q: When you watched Stanford-Washington, does that change how you think you played against the Huskies?

A: “They played Stanford tough. It was a really close game. I thought Washington played better against Stanford than against us, and we know how good Stanford is. Washington put up a good fight. But it didn’t change my mentality or anything. Stanford is a completely different offense than what we are. You can’t really compare.”

Q: What do you see from USC defensively?

A: “Athletic. Big, long, fast. Especially on the front seven. But they don’t have depth. That’s our big thing. We’re trying to push our tempo even faster, keeping the same guys on the field and just changing the formation so they don’t have a chance to sub. Once their first string is tired, it’s going to be tough because they don’t have a lot of depth.”

Q: Is there one area you’ve been trying to focus on in the last week or so, or is it just overall?

A: “Overall. Making sure that I see the defense and put the ball where it’s supposed to be. Sometimes at Washington, I anticipated them doing something and they did something else, and it caught me off guard. I just want to be prepared, mentally and physically.”


Denker tries to settle down before USC game

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