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New Mexico Bowl: Scooby Wright prepares for season finale

This could be Scooby's final game in an Arizona jersey

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats have been without Scooby Wright III since week four of the regular season, but will finally regain his services in the final game of 2015. Earlier in the week, Rich Rodriguez had said that Scooby wasn't quite in full game shape, but he will be ready to go.

"Yeah, I can play a full game. Cardio's been getting back and I've been doing some extra running after practice and all that good stuff. A win should be good," Wright said about his conditioning on Tuesday.

When asked why it was important to play this game, it was plain and simple. "Because I'm healthy and football players play when they're healthy."

Scooby has only seen time in parts of two games this year, and is itching to get back on the field, ready to hit someone. "Yeah, a lot of experiences. I can't really describe it. On the field, making plays, hearing the crowd," Wright said about his excitement.

"Just go out there and do my job," he continued. "We're playing a triple option team, and with that scheme, as a defense, we have to make sure that every one is doing their job. Because if somebody messes up, misses their assignment, they get a big play going. So we just have to make sure we're doing our jobs,"

"I wish they threw the ball a little more so I could get some pass rush run, but it'll be fun to play," he said through a smile.

Scooby brings more than just his physical skills to the field though. His knowledge of Arizona's defense, and the opponent's offense, is arguably his greatest attribute.

"I kind of let my play speak for itself," he said about his leadership during games. "That's just how I am. I'm not much of a rah-rah guy, I'm usually pretty quiet on game days."

"I don't want to say it was missing," Scooby said about missing an on-the-field-coach such as himself. "Maybe just inexperience. We've had a lot of guys getting hurt and had guys who weren't ready to play, step up and play. So I think that's really the thing. No one really knew the ins and outs of the defense as much as they should have."

But even when the injuries held him off the field, he's been helping a lot of the younger guys get prepared for big time situations.

"I definitely did," Scooby said about coaching from the sideline. "Especially with a guy like Tre Tyler when he started against NAU. He was really freaking out, just really nervous. I was like 'Dude, just chill out, this is the same game you've been playing since you were ten years old. Guys are just a little bigger, faster,' and so he played well. It helps having a guy like Paul Magloire helping him out too."

If this is indeed Scooby's last game at Arizona, the attention will turn to who replaces him, and one young guy has been trying to gain Wright's wisdom.

"He's good, he's a tough kid," Wright said about freshman linebacker Kendal Franklin. "Obviously he's a big dude. He just needs to have some experience to just kind of learn football, just learn football the way we it played here."



Scooby Wright has already submitted his evaluation paperwork for NFL scouts to grade him and evaluate his draft position. In his off time, he's been able to watch some of the best linebackers at the next level, trying to widen his knowledge of the game.

"I've been watching guys in the NFL, players that I like watching, like James Harrison, I've watched a lot of him," Wright explained. "Especially Sean Lee, Lawrence Timmons for the Steelers. I was watching a lot of those guys, just seeing how they play, their repertoire of moves of they have and stuff like that."

But what is Scooby looking at?

"Just the way they use their hands more, especially just trying to learn more of a 3-4 defense than a 4-3. Just trying to broaden my football horizon."

Even though Wright has technically played middle linebacker the past two years, the way the 3-3-5 morphs allows him to get playing time everywhere.

"I think, myself, I could play every [linebacker spot] if I had to," Wright said about his versatility as an inside or outside linebacker.

That could be a huge part of the evaluation process by NFL scouts when it comes to Wright's future at the next level. Whether that comes at the end of this year, or in 2016 remains to be seen.