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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Scott silences his critics

The odds of a fan seeing a great quarterback at Arizona Stadium on Saturday night were pretty high.

On one side you had Jake Locker, a player that could have gone No. 1 in the NFL Draft last year and is considered by many as one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and on the other side, you had Nick Foles, an up-and-coming national phenomenon that completes passes more frequently than Bruce Springsteen sings about New Jersey.

Even Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian had a Hall of Fame-worthy career as a quarterback at Brigham Young University.

Yet none of those guys could compete with the performance of Matt Scott, Arizona’s much-maligned backup quarterback.

In a word, Scott was fantastic. He made no mistakes, he was smart about when to run and when not to run, and for the first time in his career, he didn’t seem to get overwhelmed by the moment.

Scott’s performance in Arizona’s 44-14 win over Washington was night and day compared to the quarterback that was too skittish in the pocket and too unsure of the offensive playbook to the point that it cost him his starting job after three games in 2009.

But I don’t think anyone can describe Scott’s shocking performance as well as quarterback coach Frank Scelfo did after the game.

“”He’s a good player, I’m telling you, he’s a good player and I think what happened was that he was prejudged, and he lacked the maturity to handle it,”” Scelfo said in defense of Scott. “”The quarterback position, it’s brutal. From the fans, from the media, from the coaching staff, if the offense isn’t playing well, it’s the quarterback’s fault, and unless you have broad shoulders and a great deal of maturity, you can’t handle that and well, he didn’t have that last year.””

Scelfo said Scott was finally able to tune out the critics and the doubters and finally focus on football. He’s the undisputed Robin to Foles’ Batman — the position still belongs to Foles — but his newfound maturity combined with the offensive coaching staff’s perfect game plan spelled big results for Scott and the Arizona offense.

The offense didn’t undergo the total overhaul that some thought would happen. We didn’t see Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense, the running backs didn’t suddenly take the form of Jerome Bettis in his prime when he would just pound it up the middle and carry the offense, and Juron Criner still got his touches both down the field and on those customary Criner rocket screens — which, by the way, must be in the playbook as something along the lines of “”let Criner be a beast.”” The guy is 6-foot-4 with good hands and runs as hard as Brandon Jacobs did for the New York Giants back when he was good.

The coaches have said for years that they trust Scott and think he can effectively run their offense. Scott did just that on Saturday, completing the high-percentage throws with ease and hanging in the pocket as if it was his childhood bedroom.

We aren’t sure what this means moving forward. Foles will start when he’s ready, but that date, as of now, isn’t set. It could be as soon as this weekend against UCLA or as late as the USC game on Nov. 13.

We also don’t know if Scott will be able to duplicate this performance if given the opportunity. He could play worse, he could play better — we don’t know enough about him to be able to firmly describe him. We thought he was appropriately pegged as a question mark (at best), but we’ve been proven wrong. Very wrong.

But whatever his future is on the field, Scott proved on Saturday night that he can be counted on if needed. Turns out the coaches were right about him all along.

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