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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Stoops unsure who will start at QB against UCLA

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The No. 15 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Washington Huskies in a Pacific 1o Conference matchup Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rolled to a 44-14 behind backup quarterback Matt Scott.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The No. 15 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Washington Huskies in a Pacific 1o Conference matchup Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rolled to a 44-14 behind backup quarterback Matt Scott.

If the Arizona coaching staff knows who is going to start at quarterback Saturday against UCLA, they clearly don’t want anybody to know about it until game time.

“”We certainly don’t want to tip our hand what we’re doing offensively,”” head coach Mike Stoops said Monday.

Matt Scott was tremendous against Washington last Saturday, combining for 298 total yards and two scores. But Nick Foles “”continues to improve,”” according to Stoops and is “”questionable”” for Saturday as he nurses the right knee that kept him out against the Huskies.

“”Nick is mending as planned,”” Stoops said. “”His status for this game is questionable at this point.””

Foles suited up in full pads last Saturday, warmed up and even trotted out to midfield for the coin toss. He even practiced on Monday for the first time since he suffered the injury against Washington State. But Arizona wants to force the Bruins to plan for both a mobile quarterback like Scott as well as a pocket passer like Foles.

“”I think with Matt (Scott) and Nick (Foles) that can be a whole different ball game for somebody else’s situation, and I’m glad it’s their headache, not mine,”” said co-defensive coordinator Tim Kish.

Foles’ status for Saturday’s game obviously depends on how he fares in practice this week, but even if he is ready to go, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Wildcats withhold the information until they take the field.

Regardless of who is under center, Arizona players and coaches see the quarterback situation as a good problem to have, and are equally confident in Scott and Foles.

“”Truthfully, I’m happy either way because both guys played phenomenal,”” said senior tackle Adam Grant. “”I just want to get the ‘W’ in the column.””


Scott, Vassallo named Pac-10 Players of the Week

In his first start in 16 games, Scott took home Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honors for his stellar performance against Washington. The junior quarterback went 18-for-22 for 233 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and a 200.78 passer rating, while rushing for 65 yards on seven carries.

“”He had a (passer) rating of 200. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard of anything like that,”” Grant said of Scott. “”I’m proud of the guy. He played great.””

Scott wasn’t the only Wildcat to take home Pac-10 POW honors. Junior college transfer linebacker Paul Vassallo earned the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week after collecting a game- and career-high 14 tackles to go along with a sack. The 14 tackles were the most since former Arizona linebacker Xavier Kelley tallied 15 tackles against BYU in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl.

“”Paul (Vassallo’s) played that way all year. He’s been a guy that goes sideline to sideline. He’s very instinctive and he’s very coachable,”” Stoops said. “”He’s just a very aggressive player. He’s a fun guy to be out there. He enjoys what he does. He sees things very well. He helps us see things. He’s a good leader and he’s very sharp.””

Vassallo leads the team in tackles on the season with 54, and Kish admitted that the junior transfer from Sierra College has surprised him a bit this season. Vassallo played a lot of defensive end at Sierra College, causing Kish to question his level of effectiveness as a linebacker.

“”He’s just a sideline to sideline guy that’s really had better instincts at playing linebacker than I gave him credit for when I recruited him,”” Kish said. “”He’s been remarkable at the second level so far.””

Arizona’s defense as a whole leads the Pac-10 in scoring defense, rush defense and total defense, while ranking second in pass defense. The Wildcats rank seventh nationally in total defense and 10th in scoring defense.

Arizona lost seven starters heading into the season, but never let that affect the defensive unit.

“”We just didn’t embrace the fact that they didn’t have experience. We didn’t let that enter into their psyche,”” Kish said. “”For us, these were the best 11 guys that we were going to put on the field and now lets go play like that.””


Injury update

While Foles is clearly Arizona’s biggest injury, the Wildcats have some other players banged up. Starting defensive tackle Justin Washington missed last week’s game with a knee injury and remains questionable heading into this week of practice.

The most severe injury, however, belongs to right guard Vaughn Dotsy, who may miss the entire season as he recovers from the same back surgery that sidelined former Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski for the 2009 season.

“”He could be a medical (redshirt), could be a permanent medical (redshirt),”” Stoops said of Dotsy. “”I don’t know. We don’t know what his status is right now, it all depends on how his back responds. We did the surgery a year ago so we’ll see what kind of options we have.””

The junior, who started in nine games last season, has only started two games in 2010 and may very well be done for the season, or even longer.

“”We’re concerned,”” said Stoops.


Greg Byrne appearance

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne stopped by Monday and shared how people have reacted to the new Pac-12 divisional alignment. The Wildcats are grouped in the South division with Southern California, UCLA, ASU and newcomers Colorado and Utah.

“”You know, surprisingly, I thought there would be mixed reaction,”” Byrne said. “”When you go through a process like this you have to have give and take, and I had a few (negative) emails but almost all of them are fired up about it and think it’s great moving forward. We’re really pleased about it from a structure standpoint, we’re really pleased from a long-term outlook for our league.””

Byrne said that he and Stoops will meet soon to talk about non-conference scheduling moving forward.  

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