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Arizona football notebook: Evaluating Matt Scott’s week 1 performance

Matt Scott

Matt Scott’s 461 yards of total offense vs. Toledo was the third-highest total in Arizona history. Photo by Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats quarterback Matt Scott accounted for 461 total yards last week, the second-best mark in the country, but is fretting about all the yardage that got away.

“I don’t think that was a very good game for me,” he said after Tuesday’s practice.

“I know I can do better, and I intend to a lot better. Missed a couple of easy passes I wish I could have had back. I probably let my mechanics down a couple of time, lost my focus a little bit.”

While missing a few wide-open receivers down field, Scott did hit on 30 of 46 throws for 387 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception against Toledo. He ran 14 times for 74 yards.

Only Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib (500 yards) ranks ahead of Scott in total yardage after the first week of college football.

Arizona coaches aren’t complaining much about Scott’s performance.

“For the most part, he did a very good job of deciphering, analyzing, deciding where to go with the football,” said quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Rod Smith.

“He did a fairly good for his first game in this system. His eyes were right, I’d say, at least 90 percent of the time. When you do that, then it’s just a matter of executing.

“Now, I don’t think they (Toledo) give you a lot of complicated, different looks, so that helped. We’ll get more complex looks this week. He will be tested a lot more.”

Arizona plays 18th-ranked Oklahoma State at Arizona Stadium on Saturday (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network). The Cowboys led the nation last season in takeaways with 44. That was five more than second-place North Carolina State and 10 more than third-place Rutgers.

In other words, that was a stunningly high total posted by Oklahoma State.

“No. 1, they do a good a job of giving you different looks,” Smith said. “And they do a good job of pressuring you and they are relentless to the ball.

“They play hard and you can see them trying to strip the ball. They’re not sitting back, waiting for things to happen. They are making things happen. You have to give them credit for that.”

Mimicking Matt
Quarterback Daxx Garman lasted only one semester at Arizona, transferring last winter after UA hired Rodriguez, who brought with him his read-option offense that didn’t fit Garman’s skills.

Garman landed at Oklahoma State and is sitting out this season under NCAA transfer rules. He is running the Cowboys’ scout team this week in advance of Saturday’s game against the Wildcats.

Can Garman do a good football impersonation of Scott?

Scott smiled.

“I don’t want to hate on him and everything, but we’ll see how that goes,” Scott said. “He’s a pretty good athlete, so we’ll see what happens.”

Oklahoma State linebackers coach Glenn Spencer, the acting defensive coordinator while Bill Young is out because of undisclosed medical reasons, told the Daily Oklahoman he’s talked with Garman about Arizona’s personnel.

“He can talk about their athleticism and their personalities a little bit,” Spencer told the newspaper. “Schematically, it’s so much different, so you really can’t go in there and talk scheme with him.

“But, yeah, I’ve bounced some things off him. And he’s shared some insight on some players and what he thought about them athletically and their personalities and if they’re tough guys or not, so that was pretty interesting.”

Depth chart doings
Mostly minor tweaks to the official depth chart this week. They include:

Jonathan McKnight is ahead of Derrick Rainey at the cornerback spot opposite Shaquille Richardson.

– Redshirt freshman walk-on Sir Thomas Jackson is No. 1 at weak-side linebacker, moving ahead of Hank Hobson, who was out last week because of a shoulder injury (Arizona will provide injury updates on Thursday.)

Reggie Gilbert and Willie Mobley are listed as co-starters at defensive tackle along the three-man front. Gilbert started last week.

– True freshman William Parks made the two-deep as a backup to Bandit safety Jared Tevis.

He said it
“Outside, I guess, of the birth of your children — that’s OK; that’s not exciting to watch or anything — there’s nothing better than a winning locker room. Nothing even comes close to it.” — Rich Rodriguez

Keep in touch
Not sure if former Arizona coach Mike Stoops lost Scott’s number or what, but he did text message an athletic department employee on Saturday morning, asking to pass along his well-wishes to the quarterback before the game. (They were, indeed, passed along.) Scott said he also received a message of encouragement from former quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo.

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