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Comfort zone: If called upon, Arizona QB Bryson Beirne will be ready

Bryson Beirne gets ready to deliver a pass in Saturday's scrimmage. Photo by Brad Allis, WildcatSportsReport.com

Arizona senior quarterback Bryson Beirne is in his fifth year in the Wildcats’ spread passing attack. How comfortable is he with the offense?

“Ultimate comfort,” he said after Saturday’s spring game. “It’s like walking down the street.”

Beirne has spent his time at Arizona backing up Willie Tuitama, Matt Scott and Nick Foles, seeing only mop-up duty. He completed 5 of 5 passes last season.

His role could change in 2011.

Coaches want to redshirt Scott, so if Foles has to leave a game — or is out for a week or two — Beirne has to jump in and take meaningful snaps.

Is he ready? At this point, how can he not be ready?

“The only way spring was different for me was that I had a lot more fun,” Beirne said.

“I had a lot more fun than in years past, and a lot of that is attributed to I know what I’m doing, I’m prepared, I’m comfortable. Once all those things happen, I just go out there and play the game. …

“If they put me in the game and call a play, I’ll run it.”

Beirne usually has looked good in public scrimmages, and Saturday was no exception. He was 8 of 9 for 115 yards and two touchdowns as the passing game dominated the defense.

He might not have Foles’ arm or Scott’s wheels, but Beirne definitely has senior savvy. He’s mature and well-liked among his teammates. Put it this way: The rest of the offense will have no trouble following Beirne’s lead if he has to step in for Foles.

“Very knowledgeable,” quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo said of Beirne in a pre-spring interview.

“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.”

One change: Beirne will wear No. 7 this season, switching from No. 17.

Last year, he grew out his hair into a full afro to honor his late great-grandmother. The No. 7 honors a great-grandfather, who wore that number as a running back in high school in Hawaii.

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