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Arizona's Matt Scott can run, but will he under RichRod?

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The first analytical thought that ran through any football-conscious mind after the hiring of Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez probably involved Matt Scott.

This is a quarterback that finished third on the team in rushing in 2009 as a sophomore despite starting just three games and only playing in spot minutes during five other games. In 2010, he accumulated nearly 700 yards of total offense in two games while filling in for the injured Nick Foles. Statistics like those and the expectations of a dual-threat quarterback playing in Rodriguez's spread-option attack, naturally, will key on Scott's ability to run the ball.

But is it going out on a limb to say that it's a bad idea to utilize Scott like he were Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who broke the Wolverines out of an ugly historical slump with his legs more than his arm?

Scott has all the tools to carve up some defenses with his feet, but don't think his rushing ability will be the crux of the Wildcats' offense.

Because if that's the case, RichRod is taking a huge risk in what could be a mildly-successful first season.

The fifth-year senior quarterback has shown that he can throw the ball, and Rodriguez hasn't been shy in letting him do so in the newly-implemented offense. During the team's Spring scrimmage in Glendale, Scott threw the ball 23 times and connected on 14 passes for 144 yards.

Even though the team ran the ball heavily -- Daniel Jenkins, Ka'Deem Carey and Kylan Butler each had nine rushes -- Scott only took off three times for eight yards.

Yes, the quarterback threat to run it sets up the running backs in RichRod's scheme. Yep, it's called the spread-option because it allows for choice by the QB.

But here's the issue: If Matt Scott takes a hard hit to the head, an undercut to the knee -- heck, if he jams his toe into the turf when he tries to slide down -- Arizona's quarterback situation is in trouble.

Perhaps the best bet at back-up right now is Richard Morrison. Once recruited to Tucson as a quarterback, he's moved back to the position after growing into a wide receiver good enough to start this season.

That's telling.

So is today's news reported by Ryan Finley. The Wildcats added an unranked, JC-transfer quarterback in BJ Denker to the roster. Denker, a 6-foot-3, 190 pound player out of Cerritos College, will be immediately eligible for the 2012 season and has two seasons of eligibility left.

All in all, the Wildcats already have compiled four quarterbacks when you throw walk-ons Tyler D'Amore and Alex Cappellini into the mix. Toss incoming freshmen athletes Javelle Allen and Josh Kern, and a seven-option position doesn't seem so bad.

Yet, Rodriguez is grabbing at all straws because he's hoping to find a hidden gem behind Matt Scott.

And in that, to risk throwing his starting quarterback out for the wolves to tackle seems like a scary thing, even if it is going to be the quarterback ultimately reading and deciding what to do with the ball on any given play.


Video of recent JC quarterback commit BJ Denker