Declaring himself "way ahead of schedule," Arizona Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles practiced Monday for the first time since dislocating his right kneecap in an Oct. 16 win over Washington State.
Whether he will start Saturday when the 15th-ranked Wildcats take on UCLA at the Rose Bowl is still a mystery.
Coach Mike Stoops said Monday that he will take his time before announcing a starting quarterback - if he does at all. Arizona's coach offered little insight as to which quarterback would start against the Bruins. Matt Scott was stellar in last week's 44-14 win over Washington, completing 18 of 22 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns. The speedy junior also ran seven times for 65 yards.
UCLA will have to plan for both Foles and Scott as it prepares for Arizona (6-1 overall, 3-1 Pac-10).
"We certainly don't want to tip our hand with what we're doing offensively," Stoops said.
Scott could see a larger role in Arizona's offense, even if Foles returns for Saturday's game.
Scott said Monday that he'd be open to sharing snaps. Foles, meanwhile, would not speculate on a starter.
"Coach makes the best decisions for the team - what quarterback he thinks can execute the plays and be effective in the game," Foles said. "He'll make that decision when the time comes. It's up to him."
Wearing a neoprene brace on his right knee, Foles declared himself "very fortunate and very thankful" that his injury was only a dislocation. UA trainers popped his kneecap back into place moments after Washington State defensive end Travis Long rolled over his knee with 14 minutes 1 second remaining in the second quarter.
Even Scott said he was impressed with Foles' quick return.
"He's a tough cat," Scott said. "I knew he was going to be out here. I knew he was going to be working hard. He wants to come back - I can see it in his eyes."
Nose tackle Justin Washington continues to recover from a knee injury and is questionable to play against UCLA, Stoops said. If he cannot go, the Wildcats would turn to Sione Tuihalamaka for the second straight week. Tuihalamaka registered three tackles and a sack against Washington.
"Sione's improving a lot," Stoops said.
Guard Vaughn Dotsy, meanwhile, could be gone for good. The Wildcats' hulking right guard has been battling back problems since undergoing a microdiskectomy during the off-season. Stoops said Dotsy is a candidate for a medical redshirt or, if his problems persist, a permanent medical waiver.
Dotsy, a junior from Ventura, Calif., has been removed from the UA's two-deep chart.
"He's gotten a little bit better, so I don't know what the long-term prognosis is," Stoops said. "It all depends on how his back responds to treatment. … We're concerned."
Two Wildcats earn Pac-10 honors
Scott and linebacker Paul Vassallo were named the Pac-10's offensive and defensive players of the week today for their efforts in the Wildcats' win over Washington.
Scott combined for 298 yards in his first start in more than a year; his pass efficiency rating of 200.8 was the best of any UA starter this year.
"That's the first time I've ever heard of somebody doing that," left tackle Adam Grant said.
Vassallo registered 14 tackles and one sack against the Huskies. The junior college transfer leads the UA in unassisted tackles (39) and total tackles (54) and is seventh with 4 1/2 tackles-for-loss.
"He's a guy who goes sideline-to-sideline, he's instinctive, and he's very coachable. He gets it," Stoops said. "He's a good leader. He's very sharp."
The awards are the first for both players.
• Arizona's surging defense continues to climb the charts. The Wildcats lead the Pac-10 in total defense (285.1 yards per game), scoring defense (13.1points per game), rushing defense (90.9 yards per game), sacks (3.57 per game) and tackles-for-loss (eight per game).
Given the preseason concerns about Arizona's inexperience, they may be the most impressive stats of the year.
"We didn't embrace the fact that they didn't have any experience. We didn't let that come into their psyche," co-defensive coordinator Tim Kish said. "When you've got foxhole buddies playing together like that, you always have a chance."
• Scott's teammates were still buzzing about the ground he covered during Keola Antolin's 78-yard touchdown run. Scott handed the ball off on a lead-option play then sprinted down the field while Antolin scored.
"I didn't know until I watched the film," Antolin said. "I was like, 'Wow, Matt is really behind me.'"
• The game time for the Nov. 6 game at Stanford has been narrowed to either 5p.m. on Channel 9 or 7p.m. on ESPN.
• What: Arizona at UCLA
• When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM