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November 10, 2012

Arizona, Colorado meet with new looks at quarterback



It's one thing to have a considerable amount of game film to study on the opposition by the third month of the season, but that was not the case this week. Instead, for each defensive staff, it was more like toss out the majority and go on a scavenger hunt for meaningful footage of the second unit.

Get ready for the battle of the backups.

Arizona and Colorado will both turn to different quarterbacks Saturday in the Wildcats' homecoming game at Arizona Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. MST.

Matt Scott suffered a concussion last Saturday in the third quarter of UA's 66-10 loss at UCLA. Officially listed as "doubtful" Thursday, the fifth-year senior did not practice all week.

The Wildcats (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12 Conference) will now likely turn to junior college transfer B.J. Denker and possibly receiver Richard Morrison, who spent time at quarterback in spring and fall camp and made a brief appearance at the position against the Bruins.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez said preparation and familiarity between Denker and the starting receivers should not be an issue.

"We rotate our 1s and 2s so much," Rodriguez said. "We rep our 1s and 2s equally.

"I've got confidence in all my guys."

Denker said he and Scott are constantly bouncing ideas off one another, and the advice throughout the week has been to keep the tempo fast.

"The faster we play, the easier it is," Denker said. "The defense has to vanilla up a little bit."

The Buffaloes (1-8, 1-5 Pac-12), meanwhile, relieved Jordan Webb of the starting job after a 48-0 loss in their own homecoming game last week against Stanford. Head coach Jon Embree pulled Webb after a 4-of-10 passing performance for 19 yards and an interception that was returned 52 yards for a touchdown.

Nick Hirschman and Connor Wood completed the game and split snaps, and a two-man competition for the start highlighted the week of practice. Embree did not announce a starter throughout the week.

Regardless of who starts, Rodriguez said it did not change the preparation.

"They're going to probably run what they've been running for eight or nine weeks," Rodriguez said. "You've got to prepare for all of it."

Aside from Scott, UA also will likely be without two starters on defense - free safety Jourdon Grandon (doubtful, concussion) and linebacker Hank Hobson (out, neck) - starting left guard Chris Putton (doubtful, concussion) and two-way player Taimi Tutogi (questionable, neck).

Not that anytime is a good time to lose a starting quarterback and offensive lineman, but the Buffs are on a five-game losing streak and rank 101st out of 120 FBS teams against the run (204.2 yards allowed per game). To counter, the 'Cats have one of the premier running backs in the Pac-12 in Ka'Deem Carey, who topped 1,000 yards in a season for the first time in his career last week.

In addition, the last-place Buffs will be a break from a grueling stretch that included Top 25 opponents in five of the past six games.

After not playing a day game for six of the first seven weeks this season - and none at home - the Wildcats will host an early start for the second time in the past three weeks.

Defensive back Tra'Mayne Bondurant said an early wake-up call will not change anything outside of the obvious.

"Just got to get up ready and play," Bondurant said. "I don't care what time it is. I'm ready to go at any time."

The rest of the team will try to prove the same, one week after several players and coaches said UA did not come prepared to play.

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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