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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Should Scott start at UCLA?

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The No. 9 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Oregon State Beavers at Arizona Stadium Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, in Tucson, Ariz. Oregon State upset the home team 27-29.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The No. 9 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Oregon State Beavers at Arizona Stadium Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, in Tucson, Ariz. Oregon State upset the home team 27-29.

Pro: Start Scott while you still can

There’s no question that, when healthy, Nick Foles is “”The Guy”” for Arizona. But considering the circumstances, Matt Scott should run the show once again at UCLA on Saturday.

First off, UCLA is not very good.

Although the Bruins knocked off the Longhorns in Austin, Texas, earlier this season, it’s hard to get past their 3-4 overall record and 1-3 Pacific 10 Conference record. And with the loss of quarterback Kevin Prince, UCLA is even more beatable.

Secondly, when else this season will Arizona get the chance to start and keep Scott, a four-star recruit, happy? Sure he should see a little more time with Foles injured, but he may never get the chance to start over the remainder of his career at Arizona.

And with UCLA being the last sub-par opponent (besides ASU) on Arizona’s schedule, why not roll with Scott for one more week?

Foles looks good and is back practicing at full speed with the team. But with No. 12 Stanford and Andrew Luck lurking, why not give Foles another week to fully heal?

Scott clearly earned another start and proved he’s more than capable of leading Arizona to Pac-10 wins. He’s no longer the frazzled and frantic Scott that would escape the pocket too early. He is finally a capable passer, while still threatening on the ground.

Even if Scott doesn’t perform at the level he did against the Huskies, Arizona’s defense is good enough to limit a fairly predictable UCLA pistol offense.

The Wildcats boast the seventh best-run defense in the nation, and UCLA has run the ball 306 times this season, compared to only 156 pass attempts, last in the conference.

Scott also matches up well against the Bruins, who are eighth in the Pac-10 against the run, allowing 194.9 yards per game.

UCLA’s given up 304 and 270 yards on the ground in the past two weeks to Cal and Oregon, respectively. Arizona is more of a run-first team with Scott at quarterback, giving Mike Stoops another reason to go with Scott and rest Foles for the Cardinal.

UCLA also ranks fourth in the conference against the pass, allowing only 205.3 passing yards per game, so you would have to think the running quarterback would be more effective than the pocket passer less than two weeks removed from a dislocated kneecap.  

Foles could use some more time to rest up, and Scott deserves another start that may never present itself again if sunshine is healthy for the rest of the season.

If there’s one time to start Scott, it’s now.

 

 

Con: Foles should play if able

Matt Scott played as close to a perfect game as a quarterback could play in Arizona’s 44-14 win over Washington on Saturday. He proved that, if needed, he could fill in for starter Nick Foles and the coaching staff wouldn’t have to worry about any lack in production.

But that’s all his role will be, because if Foles is healthy, he should play.

I understand that Scott provides a fresh look by being able to run and that he will pose problems that defenses wouldn’t have to deal with if Foles were to play, but let’s look at the numbers.

Scott passed for 233 yards on Saturday and ran for an additional 65. A quarterback contributing 65 yards is incredibly beneficial to an offense, and is certainly a change of pace to the usually pass-only Foles.

But add the numbers up. Scott passed and ran for a combined 298 yards. Foles has eclipsed that number with his arm alone three times this season – 360 passing yards against Toledo, 303 against Iowa and a whopping 440 against Oregon State.  

Foles doesn’t pose the threat to tuck and run quite like Scott does, but he’s shown enough prominence through the air that defenses still have more than their hands full preparing for him.

The other argument for Scott to start this week is to rest Foles. I certainly understand that and don’t disagree with it. If Foles has any questions about his knee he shouldn’t play, but if he continues to move around the way he has this week in practice then he should.

You could argue that UCLA is an inferior game, so why risk further injury with Foles in there? That’s true, but only to a point.

Look at it this way: Arizona should handle UCLA with relative ease, but the schedule after it is daunting – at Stanford, USC and at Oregon. Those are quite possibly UA’s most difficult games of the season, and they’re all in a row.

The Wildcats need to be ready for that stretch. Despite being 6-1, Arizona hasn’t been as consistent as head coach Mike Stoops would like. Taking this game against UCLA to fine-tune everything with what is considered the starting lineup is imperative for the Wildcats to run the table against Stanford, USC and Oregon and make a run at the Rose Bowl.

Scott was phenomenal against Washington and likely earned a series or two in every game for the rest of the season, but if Foles is going to start against Stanford, he should play against UCLA if healthy.

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