Solomon to start as quarterback against Liberty

Baylor quarterback Anu Solomon works on his footwork during a practice. Solomon was named the starter against Liberty. Courtesy of Rod Aydelotte | Waco Tribune Herald, via AP

Ben Everett | Sports Writer

Senior quarterback Anu Solomon will start on Saturday against Liberty in Baylor’s season opener, per Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel.

Solomon, a graduate transfer from Arizona, won the starting job following a three-person battle for the position throughout training camp.

Incumbent starter sophomore Zach Smith holds a 1-3 record as the Baylor starting quarterback after taking over as a true freshman when Seth Russell went down with a season-ending ankle injury last season.

Freshman Charlie Brewer was given equal reps with Smith and Solomon throughout camp, but could potentially redshirt in order to save his eligibility for future years when the Bears need him.

Solomon is Baylor’s most experienced quarterback having started 27 games for Arizona over a three-year span with the Wildcats.

Solomon is fourth most in Arizona program history with 6,922 passing yards and third most in Arizona program history with 49 passing touchdowns despite only playing in five games during his junior season due to knee and foot injuries.

Solomon’s experience, and also his ability to run the ball, are two components of his game that Baylor head coach Matt Rhule was impressed with when he first came to campus in the spring.

“The biggest thing is you can see how savvy he is,” Rhule told the Dallas Morning News. “He audibles plays to beat blitzes, he pulls the ball down and extends plays with his feet. You can tell he’s played a lot of football and played a lot of football at a high level.”

Solomon accumulated 489 yards on the ground and five touchdowns in his first two years at Arizona and rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown in a single game against Colorado in 2014.

Solomon may not be the starter each week, however, as Rhule wants to keep the door open for competition.

“I’ll play the best player every week,” Rhule said. “There’s not going to be a short leash ever on a quarterback. We’re going to let them play through things, but there are certain standards in terms of how hard you work in terms of how much we do. If over time it seems like, ‘hey this guy is not the guy’ then we’ll move on to the next guy.”

Co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Glenn Thomas said he looks for his starting quarterback to be a playmaker and game manager.

“At the end of the day you have to make plays,” Thomas said. “Leading the offense, converting, recognize what’s happening and taking what the defense gives you.”

In addition to the quarterback news, Rhule announced at his weekly press conference senior left tackle Mo Porter is suspended for the first half of the opener while senior safety Taion Sells is suspended for the first three games of the season due to undisclosed circumstances.

“As a head coach, it’s my job to set high standards and to hold people accountable,” Rhule said. “I know you guys probably have questions, but I won’t get into it out of respect for them. Both guys have handled their suspensions like men. When they come back, they’ll be back, but they will not be able to participate for us as we go through those times.”

Solomon, Rhule and the Bears make their season debut at 6 p.m. Saturday against Liberty at McLane Stadium.

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