Perhaps in a different football world, Arizona Wildcats quarterback Matt Scott could really be like Oregon’s Darron Thomas, running a read-option offense somewhere.
In this football world, Scott gets to be like Thomas for only a week.
Scott, a senior who is still crossing his fingers that he can redshirt this season, has helped prepare the Arizona defense this week by being the scout team quarterback, trying to approximate the go-go speed of the Oregon offense and the run-pass skills of Thomas.
“I wouldn’t call me Darron Thomas, but it’s a lot like my high school offense, so I’m pretty comfortable with it,” Scott said.
“It’s pretty fun to go back and do what I did in high school.”
It’s all about tempo. The Ducks never stop. They wear teams out in the second half. They leave defenses huffing and puffing.
“Just be fast,” Scott said of the most important thing he could do this week.
“Just get on the ball, run the play. Get on the ball, run another play. Just keep going fast. … Practice goes so fast because we’re running play after play after play.”
Thomas doesn’t have to run to be successful; he has rushed only five times this season. That means that a defender has committed to stopping Thomas’s run game, which means that is one less defender available to stop running backs LaMichael James, De’Anthony Thomas, Kenjon Barner and Tra Carson.
Arizona defensive coordinator Tim Kish said Scott excelled in handling the speed and decision-making of the read-option offense in practice.
“Phenomenal. He was awesome,” Kish said. “Absolutely awesome.”
Arizona’s spread offense doesn’t feature the quarterback run game like Oregon’s does, but Scott has shown running skills throughout his career, with 650 yards on 99 carries. Would he have been good in a read-option system?
“It’s hard to say, but I don’t see why I couldn’t,” he said. “But I’m not in that position right now, so I can’t really say. I’m not one of those people who is going to look back and wonder. I’m here right now and that’s what matters.”
Scott, under the tutelage of quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo, showed improved passing skills in the 2 1/2 games he played for an injured Nick Foles last season. He was 66 of 93 for 776 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
In a typical week, Scott takes backup reps in practice with senior Bryson Beirne. Scott has to be ready in case of a major injury to Foles. But if Foles stays upright, Scott — who turned 21 on Tuesday — can redshirt and come back next season to compete with Rutgers transfer Tom Savage for the starting spot.
“I’m ready for next year to come and get that opportunity,” Scott said.