Arizona-Stanford notes: Foles’ status, Harbaugh’s wife, Player of Weekby Anthony Gimino on Nov. 01, 2010, under Sports
Nick Foles seems ready to resume his duties as the Arizona Wildcats’ starting quarterback, although we won’t be hearing from him this week. Neither will backup Matt Scott have any comment.
Word after Monday’s practice is that quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo put his quarterbacks off limits to the media this week as the team gets ready to play 10th-ranked Stanford in a game with loads of Pac-10 and national importance.
Perhaps the temporary ban is just the coaching staff’s way of making sure the focus is on the preparation and not the speculation of who will start and who will play in which amounts.
In any case, the Cardinal has to prepare for both players and styles, including designed runs from Scott.
Earlier Monday, coach Mike Stoops said Foles would be the starter this week as long as everything goes well in practice. Foles has missed two games because of a dislocated kneecap.
“If Nick is healthy enough to play and practice and do the things necessary, then he would start,” Stoops said.
Even the school’s weekly game notes writes about “the probable return of healthy Arizona QB Nick Foles.”
So, yeah, let’s call him probable.
In fact, he could have played against UCLA, Stoops said, and nearly did in the fourth quarter when Matt Scott, in the coach’s words, “got banged up.”
“That’s why we were warming him up,” Stoops said of Foles, “… but Matt said he was good enough to play. If he wasn’t good enough, then we would have gone with Nick.”
By not playing in the past two weeks, Foles has risen to the nation’s lead in passing accuracy. He has completed 143 of 190 passes (75.26 percent), slipping ahead of Northwestern’s Dan Persa (74.36).
The positive thing is that Scott has earned the coaches’ confidence in the past two weeks and could go in at any time — if the offense is struggling, if his running ability provides a good change-up, or if Foles gets hurt again.
“I thought Matt played really well again,” Stoops said of last week’s game at UCLA, when Scott passed for a career-high 319 yards.
“He missed some throws in the fourth quarter, but I liked the way he scrambled and made plays. He scrambled to throw; he scrambled to run. And he just made it look easy. It wasn’t forced in any way. He just kind of made plays with his instincts. He’s playing well right now.”
STOOPS SAID WHAT?
I asked Stoops if he had learned anything about Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh when the Pac-10 took its football coaches on a media tour of the East Coast this summer.
“No,” Stoops said. “Jim’s Jim.”
And then he added …
“I know he has a great wife and a great quarterback.”
That was one of the strangest things ever heard at a Stoops press conference, and the coach himself seemed a bit chagrined that he had just said it. But before your imagination runs wild, Stoops was referencing a comment Harbaugh said a couple of weeks ago on the Pac-10 coaches teleconference with the media.
He said, according to a transcript in Ted Miller’s Pac-10 blog on ESPN.com:
“I was thinking just the other night that two people in my life, my wife and our quarterback, Andrew Luck, have a lot in common in that they’re just both perfect. With most people you say, ‘If they only didn’t do that. Or they didn’t do this.’ Or you wish they could do this, or you wish they could do that. But I don’t do that with my wife Sarah or Andrew Luck. They are just absolutely perfect the way they are. For football coach that’s pretty great — to have a great wife and a great quarterback.”
Arizona starting defensive tackle Justin Washington is expected to play this week after missing two games because of a sprained knee. Sione Tuihalamaka has played well as the starter in Washington’s place. Not a bad future for Arizona on the inside with these two redshirt freshmen. …
Running back Nic Grigsby should be fine, Stoops said, after sitting out most of the UCLA game because of a sprained ankle suffered in the first half. …
UA linebacker Jake Fischer, who took a short snap 29 yards on a fake punt in the fourth quarter against UCLA, was selected the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week.