Continuing an Arizona Wildcats running back theme …
Here is Wednesday’s story about the progress of true freshman running back Ka’Deem Carey, whose biggest challenge is pass protection and run blocking, according to running backs coach Garret Chachere.
And last weekend, we posted a story on redshirt sophomore Daniel Jenkins, the “middle child” of the Arizona tailbacks.
Jenkins, who was fourth-string last season, has elevated his play and has elevated on the depth chart because of the departure of Nic Grigsby and the ACL injury to big-back Greg Nwoko.
Jenkins has looked consistently good in camp, and here is some more about him from Chachere:
“I’ve seen a lot of good things from Daniel in camp, really starting from last spring. He had a new lease on life. It was his time.
“When you’ve been on the bench and you’ve redshirted, after a couple of years, you’re like, ‘Hey, it’s my time to play.’ With Grigsby leaving, he saw there was an opportunity to play, and we play multiple backs.
“He didn’t want to be just one of those guys who is part of a rotation. He really wanted to make a difference, and you saw the strides through spring and in the summer, in the classroom and on the field.”
Jenkins rushed only eight times last season for 26 yards. At 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, he is another in Arizona’s stable of smallish backs, which is another reason the Wildcats could use a deep rotation — to keep everyone fresh and healthy. There’s starter Keola Antolin, Jenkins … and then we’ll see. Carey? Redshirt sophomore Kylan Butler? True freshman Jared Baker?
Jenkins said he has worked hard on his pass-catching, and he has a nice blend of speed and, as he says, “wiggle,” in the open field.
Chachere said Jenkins flipped a “maturity switch” this spring.
“It was just his time. He’s old enough now. He’s been in enough games. In the classroom, on the field, in our blitz pickups and with the mental part of the game, he has flourished,” Chachere said.
“That comes with being in a system for several years, messing up for several years, getting yelled at for several years … and then the game starts to slow down and you’ve got it all figured out.”