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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Football notes: Rodriguez says Scott is his “point guard”

In describing his ideal quarterback, head coach Rich Rodriguez used an analogy any UA sports fan can appreciate — a basketball metaphor.

“I’ve always said we’d like to have a quarterback like a point guard who can shoot the three,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes he keeps it and sometimes he distributes it. Some guys shoot the threes better than others, some drive it to the basket more.”

For Rodriguez, quarterback Matt Scott fills the distributer role.

“(Scott’s) a guy that distributes really well,” Rodriguez said. “He can run, but he can throw the football. He’s got as good an arm as any quarterback I’ve ever had.”

Scott showed that versatility last weekend, distributing the ball all over the field, completing 65 percent of his passes. Scott also ran the ball well, gaining 74 yards on the ground, which was more total rushing yards than the Wildcats had in five of last season’s games.

“I’d love to have him for more than one year because I think we can do even more with him,” Rodriguez said. “But this is it with us, so we’re trying to crash course him into doing as much offense as we can with him.”

The ever-fluctuating depth chart

Now that the coaches have had the opportunity to see the Wildcats play in real game action, some notable changes have been made to the depth chart.

The biggest surprise might be the emergence of freshman linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson.

Jackson, a walk-on, started last week after sophomore Hank Hobson was unable to play due to injury. After recording seven tackles and playing every snap for Arizona against Toledo, Rodriguez has unseated Hobson for the top spot, at least for the time being.

“We’ve got to get to the point where we’re playing 45-50 guys every game on both sides of the ball (in total),” Rodriguez said.

“Unfortunately we’re not there right now and that hurts some of the things we want to do, but we have to be who we are.”

Rodriguez said they had to defend against too many plays ­— 94 in total against Toledo — for how their defense is composed, but Oklahoma State won’t make the goal easy to achieve.

Sophomore Jonathan McKnight played as the nickel corner last Saturday, but he will get a shot this weekend in the starting role as he swapped spots with junior Derrick Rainey.

Also, sophomore Reggie Gilbert will get his first career start against Oklahoma State at defensive tackle.

Some big Cowboys

The Wildcats welcome No. 19 Oklahoma State to Tucson on Saturday, and Rodriguez is trying to prepare his team for the large offensive line the Cowboys bring to the table. The Cowboys’ five projected starters average 6-foot-4, topped by junior tackle Parker Graham at 6-foot-7.

“Unless there is a magic pill that will get our guys (that size) … There’s nothing legal anyway, no legal magic pill,” Rodriguez joked. “We just have to play with great leverage. And we are going to be outsized, we’re going to be outmanned a little bit. But we’re going to be that way in every game.”

Two huge keys for the Wildcats will be open-field tackling and releasing off of blocks, Rodriguez said, as the Cowboys do a great job with cut and chop blocking and can open up big plays.

Oklahoma State had the second most rushing yards in the nation last week with 395, and lead back Joseph Randle only had six of the carries.

But Randle still had 107 and two touchdowns on those limited carries as the Cowboys humiliated FCS Savannah State 84-0. In 2011, Randle ran for 1,248 yards and 24 touchdowns.

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