Platoon at quarterback a possibilityby John Moredich on Mar. 12, 2009, under Sports
Stoops sees no problem with job sharing
Arizona is still trying to decide on a starting quarterback for the 2009 season, but the Wildcats might go with two to start out.
If sophomores Matt Scott and Nick Foles don’t do enough to separate themselves throughout spring camp and in the fall, the Wildcats may mix and match until somebody rises to the top. Junior Bryson Beirne also is vying for time.
“That is not out of the question the first three games to give them opportunities to play and see how they react in games if it is that close,” UA coach Mike Stoops said. “I would not have a problem with that.”
The Wildcats have not gone with two quarterbacks since Ortege Jenkins and Keith Smith platooned in the late 1990s.
Scott took the first snaps at an informal scrimmage at Arizona Stadium on Wednesday, completing 5 of 7 passes for 19 yards.
He ran on the first play for a 15-yard gain.
“Matt is always going to add that dimension. He will be able to run. A defense has to be aware of it,” Stoops said. “That complicates game plans for defenses. He gives us a dimension (where) we can put the wrinkles in week in and week out.”
Foles completed 7 of 10 passes for 31 yards. Beirne completed all three of his tosses for 17 yards.
“They are trading days. I thought Matt had a good couple of days and Nick has been solid, and Bryson has had good days,” UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes said. “We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
Every move, throw and decision the Arizona quarterbacks make is being dissected.
Nothing is going to be ignored with the Wildcats trying to find a replacement for Willie Tuitama, a three-year starter.
“You have to be able to run the offense and keep it fast-paced and score touchdowns,” Scott said. “It’s plain and simple.”
The quarterbacks have been taking turns with the first team offenses through the first two weeks of spring workouts.
No decision is expected any time soon. A game-time decision for the opener against Central Michigan sounds likely.
“I don’t have any preconceived notions on different strengths and weaknesses. We are just going to see who improves the most,” Dykes said.
“We want to see who can lead the team and help us win games and make plays.”
Separating themselves is going to be the deciding factor.
Scott, after completing 7 of 11 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown last season, is seen more as a runner.
There is no denying the 2008 backup can run. He gained 188 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns. He has shown in workouts he’s capable of throwing a bullet in traffic when need be.
“You don’t have to have a rocket arm,” Scott said. “You just have to get the ball there. You don’t need to rely on arm strength. (Arizona Cardinal’s) Kurt Warner is a starting quarterback and he doesn’t exactly have a great arm, but he gets it done. I don’t see arm strength being a difference factor.”
Foles, a transfer from Michigan State who sat out last year, competed 5 of 8 passes as a freshman for the Spartans.
He gets the nod in experience with a pass-oriented spread offensive attack, but he’s not the running threat that Scott is.
“I know how to play the game. I have played it since I was little,” Foles said on what he brings to the competition. “When I step on the field I change. When I get into the game, that is where I love being. I bring maturity.
“The bottom line on who gets the job is who makes the team more successful. We are all going for it.”
UA SPRING FOOTBALL
When: Thursday; then practices resume from March 23-April 8
Spring Game: April 4, Arizona Stadium, time to be announced
2009 tickets: 621-2287