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Even with redshirt plan, Matt Scott needs to prepare to play

Will Matt Scott be doing things like this in 2011?
Photo by Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats coach Mike Stoops would like to redshirt senior quarterback Matt Scott in 2011. That works for Scott, who says he would like to sit out next season and become the starter in 2012.

It’s just not that easy.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo. “If I had the crystal ball, I could answer the question for you.”

Blair Willis of the Arizona sports information office said he got a couple of questions from media the other night, asking if he could confirm that Scott will redshirt in 2011. Yeah, well, it’s kind of impossible to say. Check back at the end of next season.

Arizona and Scott can try for a redshirt, but Scott can’t prepare that way. It’s just a plan — a tentative plan that could blow up at any time along the way if returning starter Nick Foles suffers a long-term injury.

Put it this way: Scott isn’t going to just sit around and work on the scout team.

“I’m approaching everything like Matt’s playing this year,” Scelfo said. “He’s got to develop. He’s got to get better. He’s got to work on things. He’s got to continue to improve. He’s got to focus. All those things.

“We have to go through spring and summer. Matt has to be focused on trying to be the starting quarterback for Arizona next year. And if that’s not the case, that’s not the case. But that’s the only way he’s going to improve and reach what he’s capable of reaching.

“I’m coaching him this spring like this guy is playing.”

Bottom line: You just can’t call “redshirt” in February.

Certainly, Scelfo seems the logic in redshirting Scott. It would be good for the player, good for the program. As Scelfo said, there is a “hole” in Arizona’s quarterback recruiting, with no experience after this season … unless Scott redshirts. Or unless the Wildcats bring in a transfer, such as ex-Rutgers starter Tom Savage.

But the Scott redshirt plan is only an ideal-world plan. You know what they say: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

With that in mind, spring ball won’t be any different than last season, Scelfo said. The trio of seniors — Foles, Scott and Bryson Beirne — will rotate reps. Scott will get first-team reps at time. Same as always.

The presence of Beirne makes the Scott redshirt plan a bit more feasible. The fifth-year senior hasn’t had meaningful snaps in a game but knows the offense as well as any of the quarterbacks.

He moved up to the second-string role for two games last season when Scott took over as the starter for an injured Foles.

“Very knowledgeable,” Scelfo said of Beirne. “Knows exactly what he needs to do and how he wants to do it and how it needs to be done. I think Bryson is more than capable of getting it done. …

“The way he prepared when Nick went down last year, he did a great job and gained a lot of confidence from not only the players but the staff. And that’s important. When he came in at practice, everybody went, ‘This guy ain’t bad. We’re OK.’

“So there is a comfort level there. And it’s a good one. I mean, we’re in a great situation here.”

Sure beats not having enough talented, veteran quarterbacks.

That said, there might come a time next season when the interests of Matt Scott collide with the interests of the program. What if playing Scott gives the Wildcats a better chance of winning, even for a game or two.

What then? There are many variables.

“We have to try to win and get to the Rose Bowl this season,” Scelfo said.

“And if that means Matt Scott needs to play, then Matt Scott needs to play. If we don’t play Matt and lose out on an opportunity to get to the Rose Bowl, then I think we’ve done a disservice to a lot of people.”

We’ll have more from our interview with Scelfo in the coming days.

Also from the TucsonCitizen.com Sports Network:

Brad Allis, WildcatSportsReport.com: Arizona recruiting: Cats working in the Midwest

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