Fifth-year senior quarterback Bryson Beirne, expected to fill the backup role for the Arizona Wildcats this season, will undergo an MRI exam on his right knee Monday.
Beirne injured the knee early during Saturday night’s scrimmage at Fort Huachuca while scrambling. He pulled up at the end of the run, favoring the leg, but continued playing for a while. Late in the scrimmage, as he dropped back into the pocket, he tumbled to the ground and did not return to the scrimmage.
He wore a brace on the right knee as he sat out Monday morning’s practice.
“We won’t know until this afternoon, and then we’ll determine where we go from there with him personally and with the position,” coach Mike Stoops said.
Stoops said it could a “sprain of all sorts.”
The best-case scenario for the Wildcats has been that senior quarterback Nick Foles stays healthy, and that Beirne would take the second-string reps this season, either in mop-up situations or if Foles had to leave for a short period of time.
That would allow the coaches to redshirt senior Matt Scott and have him be available to be the starter in 2012. Scott, too, would prefer to redshirt.
Stoops said the potential loss of Beirne, short term or long term, “doesn’t change much” in regard to Scott’s planned redshirt — which is probably true as long as Foles can pretty much go wire-to-wire in the season. But the only other eligible scholarship quarterback on the roster is true freshman Daxx Garman.
“If it’s a long-term injury, it’s just a disappointment to Bryson and we lose an awfully good player who was playing well,” Stoops said. “This was his opportunity to play, so we’ll see.”
Beirne completed 5 of 5 passes last season. Although he hasn’t played much in games, coaches often praised him for his knowledge of the game and his readiness for further action. He has been a backup to Willie Tuitama, Scott and Foles in his previous four years at Arizona.
Arizona hasn’t had much luck with knee injuries in the offseason.
Starting safety Adam Hall and starting linebacker Jake Fischer are rehabbing from spring ACL injuries. They recently said they were ahead of schedule, but it’s unknown if they will be able to play this season or if they will sit out (they each have a redshirt year available. Backup running back Greg Nwoko is also trying to come back from a spring ACL tear. Projected second-string defensive tackle Willie Mobley tore his ACL in May in a pickup basketball game.
From the spring: Beirne ready if called upon