Arizona Wildcats notebook: Why was Matt Scott in the game?by Anthony Gimino on Sep. 08, 2010, under Sports
The big question from the Toledo game: Why did the coaches put in backup quarterback Matt Scott early in the second quarter when the Wildcats were backed up at their 4-yard line, leading only 7-0?
“That was kind of unfair,” coach Mike Stoops said. “I wasn’t really pleased with that decision.”
Which is an odd thing for a head coach to say — doesn’t he make all the decisions? — so I asked him if he had the chance to overrule that personnel decision.
Sounds like that one zipped right past the chain of command.
Chalk up to the coaching staff, with new co-offensive coordinators Seth Littrell and Bill Bedenbaugh still working through communication issues during the game.
“That is just stuff we have to work through, and we will,” Stoops said. “That was a mistake. Like I said, we had talked about putting Matt in early in the second quarter, but that wasn’t the ideal situation. …
“That is just something that has to be communicated better. That was my fault.”
Scott and the Wildcats ended up facing a third-and-11 when he scrambled and bulled his way to what appeared to be a first down. But maybe he wouldn’t have gotten started on that run without the hold in the end zone from left guard Conan Amituanai, which resulted in a safety.
Scott got more time late in the game when the Wildcats had a comfortable margin, and you could see what the coaches have been talking about — and we’ve been writing about — regarding the quarterback’s improved throwing. He was 5 of 7 for 53 yards and one touchdown.
Last season, when Scott came into a game in relief of Foles, everyone in the stadium knew he was there to run the ball. This season, defenses are going to have to be a bit more honest against him … or likely pay the price.
* * *
True freshman receiver Tyler Slavin entered the Toledo game as the backup to Juron Criner and it was expected that he would play, but Slavin did not make an appearance. Junior Gino Crump, who made two catches for 20 yards, played as the second-stringer.
Does that mean Slavin is headed to a redshirt season?
Not necessarily. Outside receivers coach Dave Nichol said the coaching staff will continue to get Slavin — and true freshman receiver Austin Hill — ready for action. Just in case. But no final decision has been made regarding a redshirt.
* * *
What’s up with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit? He picked Arizona at No. 22 in his preseason AP ballot, and then the Wildcats wiped out Toledo, 41-2. So, Arizona might have a chance to move up, right?
Nope. Instead, Herbstreit dropped the Wildcats out of his Top 25.
Even more curiously, USC, which struggled to put away Hawaii, rose from No. 24 to No. 18 on Herbie’s ballot. Hard to figure.