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Could Matt Scott redshirt at Arizona in 2011? Stoops: ‘It’s something to look at’

Matt Scott hands off to Keola Antolin in the UCLA game.
Photo by Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

For most of Arizona football’s existence in the Pac-10, one of the Wildcats’ problems has been a lack of talent and depth at the quarterback position.

So, having two talented senior quarterbacks — Nick Foles and Matt Scott — is not the worst scenario for coach Mike Stoops to have. But the timing is unfortunate. It would be nice to spread their abilities and experience over a longer period of time.

Foles redshirted after his transfer from Michigan State, so that’s not an option. Scott, however, does have a redshirt year available.

Would Stoops consider trying to sit down Scott for 2011? Then, Scott could start in 2012 while the coaches continue to develop Daxx Garman, who graduated from Southlake (Texas) Carroll High School and will begin classes at Arizona on Thursday.

In a perfect world (one without injuries), that sounds like a great plan.

Of course, there is no word yet on whether Scott would even want to do that.

“I think you look at it and you talk to Matt, but you hate not to compete,” Stoops said of redshirting him next season. “We’ll talk about that.”

If Scott were to redshirt, Arizona could use senior Bryson Beirne as a backup. He’ll be a fifth-year guy. He understands the offense. He hasn’t had meaningful playing time in a game, but he usually looks good in public scrimmages, and probably could fill in capably if Foles was out for a short period of time.

Other quarterbacks on the roster include junior Ross Oltorik, who began his career at Ohio State and also pitched on the Buckeyes’ baseball team, and Cam Allerheiligen, who redshirted as a freshman in 2010.

Scott started two games last season, playing well as the Wildcats beat Washington and UCLA (which have two of the worst defenses in the Pac-10). He suffered a wrist injury late in the UCLA game, and Foles probably had to come back from a dislocated kneecap sooner than ideal for the game at Stanford on Nov. 6.

In that limited time, though, Scott appeared much improved as a passer while offering running skills that Foles lacks. Scott completed 66 of 93 passes for 776 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions, last season.

The shame of it is that he appeared briefly as a true freshman in 2008 as a backup to Willie Tuitama, using a season of eligibility while throwing only 11 passes and running 23 times.

“Matt has matured so much since he’s been here,” Stoops said.

“I wish we had that year back earlier. We’ll see if that’s a possibility as we move forward. It’s something to look at. I think he’s an NFL-caliber player as well, someone with tremendous upside who continues to improve daily.”

One of the questions after the 36-10 loss to Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl was why Stoops didn’t use Scott to try to spark the offense. The coach said Tuesday that Scott was bothered by a shoulder injury.

“That was disappointing that we didn’t get Matt a chance to play,” Stoops said.

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