"Is the Willie Tuitama Era about to begin at Arizona?
That's the question coach Mike Stoops is laboring with, because changing quarterbacks is one way to deal with the disappointment of a 1-5 start.
"It's been a tough decision all week," he said of potentially benching sophomore Richard Kovalcheck in favor of Tuitama, a true freshman. "Willie has incredible talents, a terrific arm. He just lacks the mental maturity it takes to play quarterback at this level. But we have to move forward as a program and see if he makes us better at this time."
Kovalcheck will start against Oregon, and Stoops seemed reluctant to dump his team's woes on him. But Kovalcheck has tossed 10 interceptions and ranks 10th in the Pac-10 in pass efficiency.
The offense ranks 96th in the nation in scoring, with just 19 points per game.
"Sometimes he makes some bad decisions at critical times that hurt us," Stoops said.
Tuitama, 6-2, 212 pounds, was one of the marquee recruits in the Wildcats' touted recruiting class. He threw for 2,734 yards and 32 touchdowns for St. Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif., and was regarded as one of the West Coast's best quarterbacks.
"Willie has all those intangible things you look for in a quarterback," Stoops said. "(But) he's still never been under fire at this level. ... You never want to put a kid into a situation where he fails just because he doesn't have the proper preparation."
QUICKLY: After being penalized 38 times in its first four games, Arizona has drawn only eight flags in its past two outings. ... "
From Seattle P-I