Let's get one thing out of the way: Nick Foles is the unquestioned starting quarterback of this team and will be assuming he can stay healthy through the grind of the long season. There is no debating to this; it's as much of a sure thing as Alex Zendejas missing at least one big kick in at least one big game or a bunch of frat boys getting drunk while tailgating. Coach Stoops knows exactly what he's going to get from No. 8 whenever he steps onto the field.
And how could there be any debate? Foles, who could become a first or second round draft pick with a big season, was excellent in 2010 before suffering a sprained knee. The senior-to-be threw for 3,191 yards and 20 touchdowns despite missing nearly three games and had an impressive QB rating of 140.9. That's getting the job done on an offense that sputtered at times due to injuries and inconsistent play.
Wildcat fans can only hope for fewer screen passes and slant routes in 2011. Foles has a cannon of an arm and he has the weapons at wideout to throw the ball deep. Wouldn't it be nice to not throw a screen pass to a running back when it's third and fifteen?
It may be a controversial theory, but throwing the ball forwards and not backwards typically leads to more yards and more points.
For all of the certainty with Foles, there are even bigger question marks behind him. As of today, the plan is to redshirt senior-to-be Matt Scott and have him take over the quarterback position as the full-time starter in 2012. Ideally, Foles stays healthy and productive all season, heads for the NFL and then hands the reigns to a guy who is more than capable of starting in Scott. Ideally, this happens. Ideally.
Here's a theoretical situation:
The Wildcats are trailing by three heading into the fourth quarter against Oregon. The entire stadium is sold out and it's a nationally televised game on ESPN. UA won a thriller against Stanford the previous week and is looking to knock off a top-10 team for the second consecutive week. The atmosphere is electric and hope is at an all-time high.
Nick Foles gets hurt. Hurt badly enough to not return to the game, and his status for the remainder of the season is unknown. He may miss a quarter, he may miss the rest of the season. No one knows and it's time for the fourth quarter to start.
Does Arizona burn Matt Scott's redshirt and play him with hopes to win the biggest game of the season? Do they turn to freshman Daxx Garman, who is yet to play a significant snap in his college career, on the national stage, with the game on the line? Do they have Foles hobble back onto the field and risk damaging the injured area even more?
These decisions could have a huge impact on not only this season but in seasons down the road, and Stoops and his staff will have about five minutes to decide.
Not that any of this will happen, but it could. It happened last year. And you can see why it could be a serious dilemma.
Let's all just hope Nick Foles stays healthy.
Oh, and that he finishes the season as a Heisman finalist as well. That would probably work best for all parties involved.