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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Who should start at QB for football, Matt Scott or Nick Foles?”

    Scott: proven skills throughout competition

    Ari Wasserman

    Associate Sports Editor

    Immediately after the Arizona football team walked out of the locker room following the Las Vegas Bowl victory over BYU, quarterback Matt Scott felt as if it was finally his team after a year of backing up starter Willie Tuitama.

    He had done his time and the reins seemed to have been handed over. Scott was instantaneously ready to get to work with efforts of keeping the high-flying Arizona offense on track.

    But when Nick Foles joined the Wildcats, a competition immediately started that has remained the main theme throughout Arizona’s spring drills.

    On the surface, Foles looked to be the prototypical guy to replace Tuitama in offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes’ offense scheme, given that he was a pass-first signal caller and Scott was most dangerous with his legs.

    Even so, Scott was happy about the competition.

    “”Competition makes everybody better and I think we’ve both improved greatly in practice and out here,”” Scott said.

    While Scott had been branded as a run-first quarterback who lacks the ability with his arm, during the spring game on April 4 it was Scott who showed everyone who is leading the race.

    He was crisp and accurate on his throws – both short and long – and still showed the solid instincts to use his legs to get out of pressure.

    Though Foles did a solid job of picking up the offense, it was Scott who looked like he was most comfortable in Dykes’ scheme.

    “”I’m pretty comfortable. I’m getting better and better everyday, learning when to put touch on (passes), when to not, when to put a line on it,”” Scott said after the spring game.

    Because of the offense’s success last year under Tuitama, who was far from a player who could use his legs consistently to get out of trouble, I have to admit I felt Foles was the frontrunner at the start of spring drills.

    After watching Scott in the spring game, I have to say I was wrong.

    Scott’s ability to run the offense – both on the ground and through the air – coupled with his maturity and understanding of the scheme is enough for him to get the job.

    It looks like that year in the system on the bench behind Tuitama really paid off.

    Foles: tailor-made for Dykes’ system

    Tim Kosch

    Staff Writer

    There’s a reason that Matt Scott, an original Arizona recruit and a former lock to be Willie Tuitama’s successor, is still in competition with Michigan State transfer Nick Foles.

    Quite simply, Foles is better.

    The 6-foot-5 Foles is a traditional quarterback: tall, composed and he’s got a big arm. Not just a big arm, a rocket-arm.

    Foles consistently made his deep throws throughout the spring, and his sideline-timing routes were consistently on line and thrown to a spot where only the receiver can make a play on the ball.

    The argument here is that although Foles has twice the arm, Scott is a better athlete and can run, giving the Wildcats an extra dimension that they never had during Tuitama’s tenure.

    Last time I checked, the main thing that a signal-caller in a spread offense needs is the ability to throw, not the ability to run.

    Just look at the offense last year. Offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes had Tuitama finishing second in the Pacific 10 Conference in yards per game, passing efficiency, touchdown passes and pass attempts. Keep in mind that Tuitama put up these gaudy numbers with feet that seemed to be stuck in cement.

    Want another example? Go back to Dykes’ previous coaching stop. Texas Tech has revolutionized the spread offense, and they’ve done it with quarterbacks like Graham Harrell and Kliff Kingsbury – two guys who couldn’t outrun a snail, yet put up record-setting numbers year after year.

    People fail to recognize that just because a quarterback doesn’t light up the 40-yard dash doesn’t mean that he isn’t an athlete. On several occasions this spring, Foles moved around in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield and getting the ball out to the open receiver before getting sacked.

    Really, evading a sack is the only athletic thing you need from a quarterback, and Foles has that.

    With running backs like Nic Grigsby, Keola Antolin and Greg Nwoko, Arizona just needs a quarterback that can put the ball where it needs to be. That’s why you’ll see a tall kid with long, blonde hair poking out of his helmet on Sept. 5 against Central Michigan.

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