The second player we will profile is arguably the most important player to Arizona's success in 2012 on either side of the ball. With the departure of Nick Foles to the NFL, Matt Scott will finally get his shot as a full time starter at quarterback. What's even more intriguing for a player like Scott is that the system the new staff brings accommodates his skill-set perfectly.
As many are already well aware of, Scott is an athletic quarterback who has the capability to make plays with his feet as well as his arm. He briefly started at the beginning of the 2009 season and played in a handful of games in 2010, but that was in the previous version of the spread offense.
Now with Rich Rodriguez and his rendition of the spread in place, Scott could become the biggest beneficiary of the change.
While Scott can throw the ball from the pocket, he is more of a threat to do damage with his feet. Whether he takes off running or rolls out of the pocket to make a pass, Scott's ability to produce using his legs should prove to be a big help to Rodriguez's debut campaign at Arizona.
Considering Scott will be the only quarterback on the roster with NCAA experience, the Wildcats season will likely hinge on how well he adapts to the new offense. To aid him, he will have plenty to work with in terms of weapons and the offensive line – which improved immensely throughout the courts of the 2011 season – is growing into a very strong unit.
For his college career, Scott has totaled 1301 yards passing, 632 yards on the ground and a combined eight touchdowns. His experience may be limited, but his brief stint in place of an injured Foles for 2 ½ games in 2010 proved that he keeps himself prepared. Now with a full season as a starting quarterback to prove his worth, Scott has a chance to have a big season.
The senior has looked strong in offseason practices and scrimmages and the most surprising aspect of his performance has been the fact that he has done most of it with his arm. Rodriguez is known to bring more of a running approach to his offense and Scott is prone to take off running when the opportunity presents itself, yet, it was his performance as a passer that has stood out this offseason.
Chances are that Rodriguez is holding a good portion of his offense back. That means when he unleashes his bag of tricks publicly, Scott's diverse skill-set should be fully maximized.
In an offense that is sure to feature plenty of the option, Scott's chemistry with his running backs is one of the most important factors to UA having a successful season. He has a few runners to work with that are incredible talents in Ka'Deem Carey, Daniel Jenkins, Greg Nwoko and company. The one concern with this group is that none of them have enough work on their resume for them to be considered ‘proven'.
Which running backs actually play and how many carries each gets has yet to be decided, but you can be sure the amount of carries they get will dwarf the figure from 2011. If the backs can get on the same page with Scott and pick up the system quickly, it will make the quarterback's job a lot easier.
A quality running game will open the field for Scott and that's when the Arizona offense can really be dangerous. Getting Scott in space and opening the field for his receivers would make the Wildcats a tough team to stop. There is a plethora of receiver talent left over from the previous regime and while Rodriguez has a history the favors the run, the passing game should get plenty of attention in 2012.
That's why the success of the running game is so important. It will all start with Scott and his backfield mates. Assuming that area is successful, it will carry other to other facets of the offense. While Scott is what will make the UA offense go, much of his success also depends on how acclimated his teammates are to the scheme.
If the Arizona offense proves to be group of intelligent hard-workers, you can expect a big year from Scott and a big year from Scott likely means a surprise year from the Wildcats.
Player profile: Matt Scott
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