It’s Paul Scott’s time to shine.
Scott, of Oakland, Calif., was UH’s Special Teams MVP last season. That was where the reserve linebacker saw most of his playing time while recording 17 total tackles and forcing two fumbles.
But the redshirt sophomore’s role has been elevated considerably heading into the 2019 season opener Saturday against Arizona at Aloha Stadium.
Scott (6 feet 1, 210 pounds) will be in the primary rotation of linebackers, along with Solomon Matautia, Jeremiah Pritchard, Penei Pavihi and Kana‘i Picanco.
That’s probably where he envisioned himself sooner rather than later as a three-star recruit coming out of McClymonds Senior High in Oakland, where he won a 5A state championship. But, some patience was required.
“It’s been a long journey. I’ve been out here two years now, know what I’m saying, and I’m finally getting my time to really show what I can do,” Scott said this week. “And … there’s still a lot of room for improvement, so I’m still building … but this is the first good steppingstone for me.”
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Paul has been mainly on the WILL (weak) side, but the linebackers cross-trained between MIKE and WILL extensively in the preseason.
He’s been among the biggest riser at the position from last year to this year (not counting Pritchard, who had to redshirt 2018 after contributing heavily the year before).
“Paul Scott has really come along and had a strong spring camp (earlier) this year,” defensive coordinator Corey Batoon said in the midst of fall camp. “Had a good summer, and he’s doing some really good things here.”
Arizona’s fast-break offense and potent run game presents an interesting challenge for the UH linebackers to open the season. UH’s scout units have attempted to mimic the Wildcats’ pace in practices leading up to Saturday in order to better prepare the defense.
“We really just want to keep everybody fresh out there,” Scott said. “Everybody has to be on board with this, with their fast tempo, know what I’m saying? Everybody’s gotta be 100 percent out there. Everybody will be implemented in there.”
Scott declared himself fit for duty entering game week.
“It’s been great. I love the intensity everybody’s coming out here with. Everybody’s out here with the right mind-set. So it’s all good,” he said.