A little late, but UA coaches give Foles his shotby Anthony Gimino on Sep. 21, 2009, under Sports
Sometime between the end of the Iowa game Saturday and reviewing the game in their offices Sunday, the Arizona coaches decided to make a change. Nick Foles would become the new starting quarterback.
Now, it might be for just one game.
If Foles does well, it could be for a lot longer.
But he’s wanted his chance, the fans have been clamoring for him to get a chance … and he’ll get it.
“I know the players have confidence in me and the coaches have confidence in me. They wouldn’t make this decision if they didn’t have confidence in me,” Foles said.
UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes told Foles on Sunday that he would start, and head coach Mike Stoops announced it to everybody else at his weekly press conference Monday.
Basically, Arizona has kicked the tires on sophomore quarterback Matt Scott and now wants to see what’s under the hood of the other car in the garage.
“Both guys have great ability,” Stoops said. “Now, finding some consistency in their ability and doing things on the field on Saturday … that’s a great challenge for all young quarterbacks.”
Stoops said that Scott would have a role in Saturday’s game at Oregon State, likely seeing some time in the first half.
“Matt is a very competitive player, and I’m sure it will hurt Matt not starting, but he has to do the things necessary, like everybody else on this team, to work to hold his position,” Stoops said.
“We want our players to compete at every position. We just feel that Nick deserves an opportunity to start. Matt has to continually improve and be a playmaker for us at quarterback.”
What does this say about the direction of the offense? We’ll see. Arizona had a running quarterback for three games, but didn’t take use those running skills to its advantage. Foles is a bigger (6-5, 235) drop-back style quarterback who more fits the mold of a passing spread offense.
It’s too bad the coaches wanted until the fourth game to see what they have in Foles. He has had only four possessions (not counting a one-play drive to end the Iowa game) and didn’t play at all in the opener against Central Michigan.
Two possessions came in the second half against NAU, with the game not much in doubt. The other two possessions came at Iowa in the fourth quarter, when UA was in catch-up mode.
The coaches might have been able to learn about Foles with a more equitable share of the playing time so far. But he’s going to get his chance now. And it’s better late than never.
Nick Foles signed with Michigan State in 2007. Here are MSU coach Mark Dantonio’s comments from Feb. 2007:
“Nick Foles has all the physical attributes that you’re looking for in a quarterback. He has the physical stature to go along with the arm strength to throw the ball down field effectively. Nick posted some incredible passing numbers as a senior, especially when you consider that he played in a pro-style attack. The number that really jumps out at me is the four interceptions in 280 passing attempts – that’s making good decisions and taking care of the football. He accomplished great things in a very competitive high school league and environment, leading his team to the Texas big-school championship game. Nick is an intelligent football player, who also possesses great leadership skills. In addition, he’s a great competitor, who showed his toughness by playing the last 12 games of his senior year with a significant shoulder injury. Honestly, his intangibles impress me as much as his physical tools do.”