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Arizona coaches encouraged by ‘physical, physical’ RB Ka’Deem Carey

True freshman running back Ka'Deem Carey looks for daylight in a practice at Fort Huachuca.
Photo by Anthony Gimino

Arizona football newcomers are still off limits to the media until next week — so we haven’t heard directly from freshman running back Ka’Deem Carey — but he is competing for a third-string spot.

Which would be good enough to get him on the field this season.

Fans can get a good look at Carey at Meet the Team night this Saturday at Arizona Stadium. The scrimmage starts at 6 p.m., and this will be another chance for Carey to show the coaches how much he has learned.

“What I really would like to see from Ka’Deem is him picking up his pass protection responsibilities. He has been doing a lot better with that,” said running backs coach Garret Chachere.

Chachere added “being patient as far as hitting the holes and reading the run blocking” to the list of things he is eager to see Carey do at the scrimmage.

“I mean, he can run the ball. And he’s a physical, physical player. He’s a kid who, if he keeps improving, hopefully he can help us this year. But, really, the big thing for me is pass protection and will the game start to slow down for him? Will he not be as jittery? Will he be nice and easy in his movements?

“He has a lot of issues that true freshmen have, not only on this team, but around the country. The game is still moving very, very fast. But it is slowing down with him. I’m really encouraged by his progress and I’m really encouraged by the time and work he is putting in off the field.”

Carey, from Canyon del Oro High School, is a “little bit physically ahead” of fellow true freshman running back Jared Baker, according to coach Mike Stoops. Redshirt sophomore Kylan Butler also is competing for that third running back spot behind Keola Antolin and Daniel Jenkins.

Antolin hasn’t participated in the first two scrimmages — Arizona already knows what it has with him, and is trying to keep him fresh. Jenkins has been impressive all camp, including making an one-handed over-the-shoulder catch along the sideline in Wednesday’s two-minute drill to end practice. Related: Jenkins shouldn’t be overlooked

Carey was considered the centerpiece of Arizona’s 2011 recruiting class, which should yield several freshmen who will play this season, including defensive back Cortez Johnson, who might be the most impressive of the freshman newcomers.

“We think there is a good number that will play,” said Stoops, who has 16 scholarship true freshmen, including three offensive linemen, in camp.

“I’d say the offensive linemen are the only ones really out of mix. … On special teams, our team is thin, so (the freshmen) are going to be a big part of what we do special teams-wise. We’d like to redshirt them, but I don’t know how many we are going to be able to.”

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