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Stoops: Arizona’s intent is to redshirt quarterback Matt Scott

Matt Scott (right) could be separated from fellow senior-to-be Nick Foles by redshirting in 2011.
Photo by Chris Morrison, US-PRESSWIRE

In January, when Arizona Wildcats football coach Mike Stoops held his press conference to wrap up the season, I asked him about the possibility of redshirting quarterback Matt Scott.

That would allow Scott to take over as the senior starter in 2012 after incumbent Nick Foles finishes his eligibility in 2011.

“I think you look at it and you talk to Matt, but you hate not to compete,” Stoops said at the time. “We’ll talk about that.”

Tucson sports talk show host Jody Oehler asked Stoops the follow-up question Thursday.

And Stoops’ answer was: Let’s try for that redshirt.

“Me and Matt have had discussions on that,” Stoops said on Oehler’s Happy Hour show on 1490-AM.

“We’re on the same page. That looks like the direction we’re headed if nothing happens to Nick. We have to keep Nick healthy. Obviously, a lot will depend on that. …

“But that’s our intent going into next season.”

Some of the guidelines might still have to be established. If Foles were injured, how long would he have to be out for Arizona to consider activating Scott? The Wildcats’ plan is to use senior Bryson Beirne as the backup in 2011. Can he handle the job for a half? For a game? Two?

How late in the season would be the point of no return for taking Scott out of his redshirt?

Arizona, with any luck, won’t have to worry about those questions. If it all works out well, Foles will stay healthy and Beirne will just be needed for mop-up time and to take a knee in the victory formation.

Arizona has a few other quarterbacks on the roster, but only one appears to be a long-term possibility — true freshman Daxx Garman, who enrolled for the spring semester. If Arizona is able to extend Scott’s college career through 2012, that would give the coaches two-and-a-half years to groom Garman and bring in other possibilities.

Meanwhile, Foles will enter the 2011 season projected as one of the top senior quarterbacks in the nation.

“Matt is an NFL-caliber player, as well,” Stoops said.

“I would hate to use up his season just backing up or playing sporadically. Matt is a starting quarterback. … And certainly Matt deserves that opportunity. If we were able to start him for a whole year, I think that rectify a lot. It would put Matt in position to do even greater things.”

Scott got the bulk of his playing time in two-and-a-half-games last season when Foles was out with a dislocated kneecap. In addition to being a running threat, he completed 66 of 93 passes for 776 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Stoops admits that holding out Scott in 2011 would make life easier on the coaches.

“It’s hard on us to have to worry about playing two quarterbacks all the time,” Stoops said.

You can hear more from Stoops on a variety of topics at the full podcast on ESPN1490thefan.com.

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