Job uncertainty runs high at quarterback, for starters

2009-08-04T00:00:00Z Job uncertainty runs high at quarterback, for startersBy Patrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 04, 2009 12:00 am  • 

The Arizona Wildcats will watch sophomores Nick Foles and Matt Scott battle over the starting quarterback job this fall.

They won't be alone.

"There's a lot of people who have new quarterbacks," UA coach Mike Stoops told the Star last week. "Arizona State has one, haven't they? UCLA has one."

As preseason camp starts this week, the Pac-10 is filled with unknowns.

Only four veterans have jobs locked up — Oregon State's Lyle Moevao, Washington's Jake Locker, Cal's Kevin Riley and Oregon's Jeremiah Masoli.

Five of the remaining six teams will give quarterbacks their first starts — Arizona included.

"I'm not concerned about our quarterbacks," Stoops said. "I'm not nearly as concerned as everybody else. They'll go through a process of learning and experiencing, but I think they're very confident.

"They're not going to play scared — that's not who they are."

Here's a primer on the quarterback races:

• USC: Coach Pete Carroll said last week there was little doubt about the Trojans' starter entering camp.

"To me, it's really clear right now," he said. "Aaron Corp came out of spring practice as the No. 1 guy."

Last year's third-stringer gives the Trojans the speediest quarterback of the Carroll era — that is, if he can keep the job. Freshman Matt Barkley, who left Mater Dei (Calif.) High School early to enroll at USC, has already gained legendary status from spring practice.

"He wasn't that far ahead of Matt Barkley," Carroll said, "which was a total shock to us."

• Washington State: Sophomore Marshall Lobbestael, a three-time starter, had off-season surgery after suffering ACL and MCL injuries last season. He should be ready for the season opener, coach Paul Wulff said. Senior Kevin Lopina and sophomore J.T. Levenseller also have experience from last season.

• UCLA: Kevin Craft started all 12 games last year, earning the respect of coach Rick Neuheisel for being "a man among men, getting up after some of the hits he took."

Still, redshirt freshman Kevin Prince enters camp as the starter despite never playing in a college game.

"He's wise beyond his years," Neuheisel said. "He's got all the physical things you look for. His arm is dangerous at all portions of the field. He's got a great grasp of the offense."

There will be bumps, though.

"I just believe he's going to give us a chance to exploit all portions of the field," Neuheisel said. "Now, for that to be the case, we've got to endure some 'freshman-itis.' We can't artificially create experience for him."

• Stanford: Redshirt freshman Andrew Luck has an edge over senior Tavita Pritchard, despite the latter's 19 starts over the last two years. Luck threw for 352 yards and five touchdowns in the Cardinal's spring game.

• ASU: Dennis Erickson said Thursday that he had a starting quarterback — sort of.

"In the spring, Danny Sullivan won the job," the Sun Devils coach said. "He's going to have to compete."

Sullivan, a senior, has never started a game. Speedy sophomore Samson Szakacsy or 6-foot-8-inch freshman Brock Osweiler also could start. The latter had originally pledged to play basketball at Gonzaga.

"Gonzaga doesn't have a football program," Erickson joked.

CAMP SCHEDULE

The Arizona Wildcats open training camp Thursday with a practice at Salpointe Catholic High School. Tucson-area practices generally are open to the public, though coach Mike Stoops can close them at his discretion. Workouts at Fort Huachuca are open to military personnel and guests only.

• Thursday: 6:15 a.m., Salpointe Catholic High School

• Friday: 6:15 a.m., Salpointe Catholic

• Saturday: 8 a.m., Salpointe Catholic

• Sunday: 8 a.m., Rincon Vista Practice Complex

• Monday: 6:15 a.m., Salpointe Catholic

• Next Tuesday: 6:15 a.m., Salpointe Catholic

• Aug. 13: 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at Fort Huachuca

• Aug. 14: 8:15 a.m. at Fort Huachuca

• Aug. 15: Practice at 8 a.m. at Fort Huachuca; tentative scrimmage at 6 p.m. in Sierra Vista

• Aug. 17: 6 p.m., location TBA

• Aug. 18: 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., location TBA

• Aug. 19: 9 a.m., location TBA

• Aug. 20 — 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., location TBA

• Aug. 21: 9 a.m., location TBA

• Aug. 22: Fan Appreciation Night at Arizona Stadium; Meet the Team 5-6 p.m.; practice at 6:30 p.m.

• Aug. 24: First day of classes; start of regular-season practice schedule at Jimenez Practice Facility

Star staff writer Ryan Finley contributed to this report.

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