Part 5: Wildcat QB Matt Scott, Proven or Unproven?
Part five of the series analyzing the 2009 class of quarterbacks in the Pacific 10 takes us to the southern most school in the conference, the University of Arizona.
Wildcats Head Coach Mike Stoops has never had an offseason such as this one in Tucson before. For the first time since 1998, Arizona not only reached a bowl game, but also won the Las Vegas Bowl against Brigham Young.
That was not the only good news that Stoops received this offseason. In late December, Stoops was awarded with a contract extension through the 2013 season as well as a $300,000 raise.
However, for the Wildcats it is not all good looking forward to 2009 and forgetting the 2008 edition. The red and blue will have to break in a new quarterback after Willie Tuitama's stellar career in Tucson.
Willie-T or Willie Heisman as many Wildcat fans have referred to him as, compiled terrific numbers in 2007 and 2008 under Offensive Coordinator Sonny Dykes. In total his four seasons in Tucson, Tuitama compiled 9,216 yards and 67 touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Wildcat fans, it is time to put the Willie Tuitama era to rest down south, and it is time to open the book on Matt Scott.
Scott, a product of Southern California powerhouse Corona Centennial, had one season to sit and watch all the positives and negatives about the Wildcats season and learn from Tuitama and Sonny Dykes.
The question is whether Scott will be comfortable in the new offense and adjust to the increased speed and complicated defensive schemes in college compared to high school football.
As a senior in 2007 at Corona Centennial, Scott posted nearly 2,500 yards passing and 19 touchdowns passing. Back in high school, Scott was known more for his scrambling and athletic ability rather than his passing efficiency.
Scott utilized his legs to amass 1,099 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, although that was with current Arizona State running back Ryan Bass in the backfield with Scott at Centennial.
Now, Scott proved during spring workouts, to Offensive Coordinator Sonny Dykes and Head Coach Mike Stoops, that he is indeed ready to take over the reigns from Tuitama and start writing his own script.
Scott has only completed seven of 11 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown in his college career. Spring ball was going to be Scott's first time as the leader of the Arizona offense.
Although, during spring practices Michigan State transfer and former ASU Sun Devil commit Nick Foles proved to be stiff competition for the sophomore Scott. Nonetheless, Scott answered his early critics with an efficient showing in the Wildcats April 4 spring game.
If Scott ever gets fluster in the pocket and needs a comfort blanket, look no further than big tight end Rob Gronkowski. The New York native has reeled in 75 passes for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns in two seasons.
Going into fall camp Matt Scott will be the starter barring any collapse or fall from grace. The Wildcat fans will be looking for much of the same following a surprising and impressive 8-5 season.
However, I would not look for the Wildcats to repeat that dream season of a year ago with a new quarterback and replacing the loss of Mike Thomas.
Scott has some big shoes to fill following Tuitama. Although Scott has far more opportunities to be successful and prove himself, but much of that has to be credited to his proven predecessor.
Up next: Arizona State coming off of a 5-7 season. What better day to have an article about Sun Devils than on Sunday; the Lord's Day.
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