Matt Scott can't say exactly how long it takes for a pocket to hold before its collapse.
Four or five seconds - sometimes less.
"You have a certain mental clock in your head," Scott said. "When that happens, you think, 'I've been in here too long. I have to get out of here before something bad happens.' "
What Scott does after he leaves the pocket will determine how the Arizona Wildcats fare tonight against Washington. The UA's new starting quarterback has speed not seen since the days of Keith Smith, but is doing his best to play within the Wildcats' spread passing attack.
Scott averaged 8.2 yards per rush as a freshman in 2008 and 7.5 yards last season. This year, he's rushed for minus-0.8 of a yard per rush - though those numbers have been skewed by six sacks.
Scott must walk a fine line starting tonight. While his athleticism makes him a natural choice to run with the ball, the UA offense requires him to check down to open receivers in just a few seconds.
Coach Mike Stoops is keeping his game plan close to the vest. He joked earlier this week that Scott will run "50 times" against the Huskies; in reality, it'd be a shock if he ran more than 10 or 12 times.
"There's nothing he can't do on the football field," Stoops said. "He has a great arm, great feet and he's gotten to where he can make the right decision. That's a credit to him."
THE LAST TIME
Bounce off Dean's foot gave Huskies 'freak' win
Date: Oct. 10, 2009
What went down: Washington scored 15 points in 30 seconds and rallied to defeat the Arizona Wildcats 36-33 at Husky Stadium. The game's controversial ending left UA coach Mike Stoops steaming.
How it read: The Star's Greg Hansen wrote that the loss put a wrench in Arizona's promising season. Hansen wrote:
"Stoops referred to the unhappy ending as a 'freak.' And then he said it again. But nobody cares if you lose on a freak play or Immaculate Reception. You lost when you should have won. It is the worst feeling in sports."
Turning point: With 2:55 left, Arizona quarterback Nick Foles threw a pass that bounced off Delashaun Dean's foot (below) and into the hands of UW linebacker Mason Foster, who returned the interception 37 yards for a the deciding score. The "Inaccurate Deflection," as it came to be called, was upheld following a video review.
Stats that matter: Foles completed 39 of 53 passes for 384 yards and a touchdown. Greg Nwoko led the Wildcats in carries (16) and yards (54) and scored a touchdown. Washington quarterback Jake Locker threw for just 140 yards, but rushed for 92.
It's history: Arizona bounced back from the flukey loss, winning its next three games and finishing the regular season 8-4.
The Huskies lost their next four games, and finished 5-7.
Walk-on makes name
Knowles a sudden hero, but Beyoncé's no relation
Khyri Knowles spent one long, quiet year waiting for an opportunity. Last week, he made the most of it. The Wildcats' walk-on sophomore recovered a muffed punt in the third quarter of a 24-7 win over Washington State. One play later, tailback Nicolas Grigsby ran for a touchdown.
The Star talked to Knowles, a former Concord (Calif.) De La Salle High School star. Here's what he said:
How'd you get that punt? "I just ran at him and he dropped it. Everybody gave me mess for not scooping and scoring. I just thought, 'Secure the ball.' "
That must have been gratifying …
"I just did what I could, worked hard every day and it gave me a chance to get in there."
What's life like as a walk-on?
"No pressure, so that's one thing I don't have to worry about. It's nice. You get to show everybody what you're all about. Nobody knows anything about you, so you get to start clean. That's a fun thing to do."
How many times do people ask you if you're related to Beyoncé?
"All … the … time. Sometimes, I tell them I am - 'Oh, I've got family that's doing big' - but I'm not."
UA's original colors
'Green-out,' anyone? Grad offers retro shirt
Thanks to a UA grad, Arizona fans can go green - and silver - for tonight's homecoming game.
Original Retro Brand, a Los Angeles-based clothing label that specializes in throwback gear, has released T-shirts in sage green and silver - the UA's original colors - to commemorate the school's 125th anniversary. The shirts, available at the Arizona Bookstore and McKale Sports Stop, come in a variety of designs - including one featuring Wilbur the Wildcat.
Original Retro Brand founder Marc Herman, a 1985 UA grad, said he knew little about the university's green-and-silver heritage until the T-shirts were made.
"As much as we consider ourselves throwback experts," he said, "it was a surprise."
Herman, 48, got his start selling Jams shorts to fraternities and sororities as a UA junior. After years spent running a label for tweens and teens, Herman started Retro Brand.
The super-soft shirts are an alternative to throwback jerseys, Herman said - vintage, affordable and fun to wear.
"Everybody has such an affinity for their school, such loyalty and such good memories," he said. "When you mix it with a product you don't want to take off, it's a killer combination."
Not that Herman wants to see the Wildcats go sage and silver full-time. The proud UA grad, whose company sells a dozen different red-and-blue shirts, said he's happy with Arizona's palate the way it is.
"Seeing olivey sage all over the stadium wouldn't make as meaningful of a statement as a 'red-out,'" he said.
NFL TO ESPN
Bruschi's big wish: Rose Bowl for Cats
Tedy Bruschi has reinvented himself as an ESPN analyst since retiring from the NFL.
Here's his (admittedly biased) take on the Arizona Wildcats through six games:
"I'd love to see them in the Rose Bowl this year," the former Patriots linebacker told the Star this week. "It's something I couldn't get done while I was there. To watch that team break through, to finally get to the Rose Bowl … that team would be remembered forever."
Tucson will be on Bruschi's mind this week, even though his new job will keep him on the East Coast. Bruschi's NFL preview show will follow tonight's game against Washington on ESPN.
Sunday's Great Pumpkin Race 5K, held at Tucson's Buckelew Farm on West Ajo Way, will benefit Bruschi's charity. Tedy's Team was founded to raise stroke awareness; Bruschi is a stroke survivor.
The former Wildcats great said he still keeps tabs on his alma mater.
"I still send texts to Coach Stoops and some of the guys out there," Bruschi said.
DEAL ON BLUE, RED
Arizona's first two football teams wore sage green and silver, colors chosen to represent Tucson's sagebrush and the state's mining heritage.
The Wildcats' colors changed in 1900, when Quintas J. Anderson - a manager on the UA football team - got a good deal on blue and red football jerseys. The student body loved them, and the school colors changed forever. Though the UA has worn a half-dozen different shades over the years, the Wildcats' official colors are now navy blue and cardinal.
WASHINGTON AT ARIZONA • 7:15 p.m. • ESPN • 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (SP.) Game-day breakdown by Ryan Finley
• Nickname: Huskies
• Year opened: 1861
• Enrollment: 42,907
• Famous alumni: Martial arts legend Bruce Lee; Giants ace Tim Lincecum; jazz saxophonist Kenny G, "The Office" curmudgeon Rainn Wilson, "The Soup" host Joel McHale.
affects beirne, too
Nick Foles' knee injury did more than open the door for Matt Scott to take over as the Arizona Wildcats starting quarterback.
It moved third-stringer Bryson Beirne one step closer to significant playing time.
Not that he's noticed.
"I've been a heartbeat away for four years now," he said. "I'm going to do what I've been doing for the last four years, and that's prepare like I'm going to play."
Beirne has been used sparingly in his UA career, which began with a redshirt season in 2007. Beirne said he'll probably throw "10, 15 passes more than I usually do" in warm-ups tonight, but that's about it.
"It's real unfortunate for one of my best friends to get hurt, but that's the nature of the game," Beirne said. "The next man steps up, and an opportunity presents itself."