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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Stoops yet to name starting quarterback

Michael Ignatov
Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Football summer practice Aug. 21, 2009.

After months of competition and media-driven speculation, the Arizona football program still does not have a quarterback.

They have two.

“”We’re not going to announce anything,”” head coach Mike Stoops said during his weekly press conference on Monday. “”It’ll either be Nick (Foles) or Matt (Scott). We’d like to see both of them play, how much we don’t know, but both players have earned the right to play.””

Opinions vary on whether or not platooning two players at the game’s most vital position is beneficial or detrimental, but Stoops appears surprisingly confident.

“”I feel very comfortable with both players that we can win,”” Stoops said. “”We’ve always tried to have people earn any position on the football field. Earning the right to play is important and I believe that both players have done that. I think both players are going to play extremely well.””

How long the quarterback competition will remain at a stalemate is anyone’s guess. Stoops admitted that his stance on the situation now might change in a week after both players have seen game action against an actual opponent. Until someone wins — or loses — the battle, though, the head coach insists that his team is prepared.

“”We’ll continue to evaluate it as we go into the season,”” Stoops said. “”I don’t think it’s a distraction, I think (the rest of) our players are focusing on what they need to do. How we adjust our game plan will lend to the quarterback that’s in there, but that just shows how multiple we are in our attack. (Our offensive game plan) is not going to change much.””

Gronkowski questionable for opener

Arizona managed to survive training camp without any devastating injuries. In fact, only one player is listed as questionable for Saturday’s opener against Central Michigan — unfortunately for the Wildcats that player happens to be junior Rob Gronkowski, the team’s tight end and arguably its best player.

“”As of right now Robbie would be the only part of our team that possibly won’t be available,”” Stoops said. “”That will be kind of a week-to-week decision. We just have to be very protective of him. You always have to be cautious and make sure the player is 100 percent and that there isn’t a risk of any other injury.””

Stoops said that Gronkowski would have to be pain-free in order to play on Saturday. How close he is getting to that point is unclear, Stoops added.

Gronkowski — Arizona’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions for a tight end — will be replaced by fellow junior A.J. Simmons if he is unable to play Saturday.

Other notes

A week after displaying doubts about sophomore kicker Alex Zendejas’ status as the starting place kicker, Stoops said he feels much more confident in his leg, citing a mechanical error for his struggles during camp.

Stoops said he has been extremely pleased with the play of backup strong safety Joe Perkins. In addition to Perkins, Stoops adamantly praised the overall depth of his program, especially the two-deep depth chart at wide receiver, defensive line and in the secondary.

Of all the freshmen in the 2009 class, Stoops said that only linebacker Jake Fischer and H-back Taimi Tutogi will receive considerable playing time. Adam Hall, a highly touted freshman recruit out of Tucson’s Palo Verde High School, is currently in limbo between playing or redshirting.

Stoops said it’s possible that he could still travel with the team even if he does redshirt this season.

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