ST. PETERSBURG — Standing 6 feet 6, Boston College TE Chris Pantale has been a hard-to-miss target for East quarterbacks during practices leading up to Saturday's East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.
For much of his senior year, however, Pantale was near invisible.
Before the 2012 season began, Pantale broke a bone in his right foot in practice, forcing him to sit out the first six games. A player who was expected to figure prominently in the offense, Pantale caught only 21 passes for 189 yards, both career lows, in Boston College's 2-10 season.
"I went through some tough times mentally, physically and emotionally," Pantale said Thursday. "I'm just trying to take this as a learning experience and test my mental fortitude and work through it."
Pantale has been a favorite target this week, especially in the red zone, where he uses his 255-pound frame to outmuscle smaller defenders. Pantale said this week has been about showing scouts he is fully recovered from his injury.
"This is sort of a redemption week for me," he said.
GREAT SCOTT: Arizona QB Matt Scott had a tough call to make as he entered his senior season in 2011.
Stuck behind Nick Foles, now with the Eagles, Scott knew he wouldn't get much playing time. He chose to redshirt.
But with the position all his in 2012 after Foles' graduation, Scott had a breakout season, completing 301 of 499 passes for 3,620 yards and 27 touchdowns. Arizona finished 8-5, capped by a victory over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl.
"It turned out to be a good decision," Scott said. "I learned a lot from (Foles) and kind of took that to the 2012 season. It was real tough, though, to sit on the bench and take a back seat. But I felt like it was going to work out in my favor, and it kind of did."
The arrival of coach Rich Rodriguez and his spread offense also worked in Scott's favor. A dual-threat quarterback in the mold of the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick, Scott was a match for Rodriguez's offense. He also rushed for 506 yards and six touchdowns.
With more dual-threat quarterbacks having success in the NFL, Scott is suddenly a hot commodity.
"I've still got a long way to go and a lot to learn," Scott said. "But watching guys like Cam Newton and then this year with (Robert Griffin III) and Russell Wilson and those guys, it gives me a lot of confidence and kind of puts me on the map, so to speak, in my preparation for the NFL."
Scott will battle fellow West QBs Seth Doege of Texas Tech and Alex Carder of Western Michigan for playing time Saturday.
MISCELLANY: Nevada TE Zach Sudfeld was unstoppable near the goal line for the West. Sudfeld (6-7, 255 pounds) caught all three passes thrown his way on fade routes in the back of the end zone despite double coverage each time. … West players had problems in Thursday's wet conditions, fumbling the ball on three consecutive snaps at one point.