Jedd Fisch calls Jayden de Laura the best college QB he's been around
The glass-half-full approach to Arizona’s season right now is that it has an offense that can score points with the best of them.
Arizona is getting 32 a game one year removed from averaging 17.2 points a game. Coach Jedd Fisch set out this offseason to revamp the offense, and those efforts have largely proven successful.
Quarterback Jayden de Laura has been one of the most impactful transfer additions of any team in the conference. He’s among the FBS leaders for explosive pass plays and among the Pac-12 leaders in both yards and touchdowns.
Against USC, de Laura threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns against one interception. It was the fourth time in the last five games that he topped 350 yards passing — a stretch of play that has seen him throw 16 touchdowns to just four picks.
“I think we have the best quarterback that I’ve ever been around in college football,” coach Jedd Fisch said after Saturday’s 45-37 loss to USC. “And I love the fact that he’s a sophomore. I just enjoy our team very much, and I think the fact that we have such a young team with such great passion and energy, it bodes very well for the future.”
Fisch said he’s not a believer in moral victories, but he does see Arizona improving. The offense has made undeniable steps. Arizona is 3-5 on the year and 1-4 in Pac-12 play, but this always looked to be the path this year.
The Wildcats are a turnstile on defense, but the offense has kept them in almost every game. They scored 39 on the road against Washington, fighting back to keep things respectable. They scored 37 against USC, coming back from a 31-16 deficit to make the Trojans sweat out their seventh win.
“The quarterback here is a unique challenge,” USC coach Lincoln Riley said of de Laura. “We’ve got him dead to rights I don’t know how many times in the game and he made some plays. You’ve got to give them credit, too. Some of the throws and catches out there were… I mean, you can’t cover them better. They made some unbelievable plays, especially in the first half. There were three or four catches and throws that were fantastic.”
High praise from the QB guru.
Fisch has been all over, too. He’s been at Michigan and Florida and UCLA. He’s been around strong quarterbacks in the NFL. His praise of de Laura carries weight beyond just a coach talking up his guy.
“I think he’s making really, really good decisions. He’s learning our offense better and better,” Fisch said. “Sometimes I feel like we have like this pitcher-catcher (relationship). I give him a signal and he kind of shakes me off, (so I) give him another signal. He would never have done that early on, but now he’s feeling more comfortable in what we want to get done. And I feel more comfortable.
“He’s a phenomenal player. I mean, really. … I think he’s just getting better each week. I want him to get better every week for as long as he’s a Wildcat, just get better every single week and I think we’ll be very happy with where he’ll be over the course of his next few years.”