Running Game 20070406 Outlook Part 5 - Running Backs - The University of Arizona Official Athletic Site
 
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20070406 Outlook Part 5 - Running Backs
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/06/2007
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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><FONT face=Arial><FONT size=4>Running Game<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></B></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial size=4>UA will not Forsake Power</FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Coaches: Michael Smith, Bill Bedenbaugh</FONT></SPAN></I></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial></FONT></SPAN></I> </P><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT size=2><STRONG>- See how the ball carriers blend with the passing game -- <EM>in person with </EM></STRONG></FONT><A class=ARTICLELINK href="/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=275787"><EM><FONT size=2><STRONG>Season Tickets</STRONG></FONT></EM></A><EM><FONT size=2><STRONG>...</STRONG></FONT></EM></SPAN></st1:place></st1:State></FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial size=2><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"></SPAN></st1:place></st1:State></FONT> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" align=center><FONT face=Arial size=2><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt">***********</SPAN></st1:place></st1:State></FONT></P></SPAN></I> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh, who came from Texas Tech with offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes, is UA&rsquo;s running game coordinator and will work closely with Dykes and running backs coach Michael Smith to make it work. Bedenbaugh is experienced in the nuances of the spread offense, and rushing success starts with his big guys in the front row.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The backs find space only if those fellows give it to them.<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>The Cats are equipped with a pair of veteran tailbacks in senior Chris Jennings and sophomore Xavier Smith, plus had soph Terry Longbons and redshirt freshman Glyndon Bolasky working the spot in spring ball. <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Jennings</st1:City></st1:place> was good enough to unseat junior Chris Henry for six starts in 2006, and good enough to gain 451 yards ? 201 of those in one game. <o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Henry declared for the NFL draft and will forego his senior year. His physical power and pass catching ability (21) will be missed. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>But <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Jennings</st1:place></st1:City> (4.3) and Smith (5.2) had better per-carry averages, showed good down-hill instincts, and Stoops calls them solid contenders for the featured back role in the new offense. <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Jennings</st1:City></st1:place> is shiftier; Smith&rsquo;s a down-hill guy.<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>The issue here, if <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> plans to throw the ball 40 to 50 times a game, is what exactly happens in the run game? At Texas Tech, Dykes co-directed an attack that ran the ball 17 times per game and threw 50 passes. UA&rsquo;s figures were 32 runs and 30 throws. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Tech&rsquo;s featured back carried the 156 times and gained 926 yards with 10 scores. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Henry and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Jennings</st1:City></st1:place> combined to take 270 handoffs, gain 1,032 yards and score 10 times. That&rsquo;s likely to change.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>But Stoops says the physical nature of the run game, and the need to use power, will not go away.<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"> <TABLE borderColor=black cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 bgColor=white border=0> <P> <TBODY> <TR> <TD><FONT face=Arial><IMG id=SCALEPHOTO alt="" src="http://www.nmnathletics.com.edgesuite.net/pics19/160/DN/DNTUUARERRGDYOI.20060913155428.jpg"></FONT></TD> <TD><FONT face=Arial><IMG id=SCALEPHOTO alt="" src="http://www.nmnathletics.com.edgesuite.net/pics28/160/IX/IXMYHUTAFVULHSH.20070405200703.jpg"></FONT></TD> <TD><FONT face=Arial><IMG id=SCALEPHOTO alt="" src="http://www.nmnathletics.com.edgesuite.net/pics17/160/DD/DDZBXEZPRUOELRZ.20050813002719.jpg"></FONT></TD> <TD><FONT face=Arial><IMG id=SCALEPHOTO alt="" src="http://www.nmnathletics.com.edgesuite.net/pics26/160/GI/GIUPBVQIEWRBDDC.20060813034440.JPG"></FONT></TD></TR> <TR> <TD><FONT face=Arial size=1>Chris Jennings</FONT></TD> <TD><FONT face=Arial size=1>Xavier Smith</FONT></TD> <TD><FONT face=Arial size=1>Terry Longbons</FONT></TD> <TD><FONT face=Arial size=1>Glyndon Bolasky</FONT></TD></TR> <P><FONT face=Arial></FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial></FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial></FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial></FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial></FONT></P> <P><FONT face=Arial></FONT></P> <P></P> <P></P> <P></P> <P></P> <P></P> <P></P> <P></P> <P></P></P></TABLE></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial></FONT> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT size=2><FONT face=Arial></FONT></FONT> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT size=2><FONT face=Arial>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to be physical on offense, and that&rsquo;s going to involve the running game,&rdquo; Stoops says. &ldquo;We will not become a soft team because we&rsquo;re going to throw the ball, that&rsquo;s not who we are.&rdquo; <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The Cats will play the power game. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The aforementioned guys in camp have shown they can do this, and UA welcomes a pair of incoming freshman recruited for the short term, if necessary -- Nick Grigsby and Joe Reese.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN></FONT></FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT></SPAN> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"><FONT face=Arial size=2>In one spring scrimmage, running backs averaged 8.4 yards per carry against a pretty good defense to add 185 yards to a productive passing game. The ball carriers seemed to get the ball in early space and the play-calling was not predictive but blended seemlessly with the pace of the new offense. </FONT></SPAN></P></SPAN> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial size=2> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>The offensive model Stoops has mentioned in the off season is Brigham Young&rsquo;s, UA&rsquo;s first opponent in 2007. That offense averaged 465 yards per game with 142 rushing and 323 passing. The Cougars threw and ran the ball in equal amounts, considerably more balanced in rush-pass than Texas Tech. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>If Arizona goes with an &ldquo;I&rdquo; or other power formations occasionally as suggeted by Stoops to maintain some smash-mouth style, don&rsquo;t necessarily look for H-backs Earl Mitchell, Brandon Lopez and Brooks Reed, all good fullback types, to run the ball. Dykes' co-chairmanship at Texas Tech had two running backs carry the ball 161 times; on 21 other occasions it was receivers on the handoff. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> Look for Arizona to run the ball with its core group.</SPAN></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"></SPAN></FONT></SPAN> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial><SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">Coaches believed former UA running back Mike Bell was a good one; he ended up starting games for the Denver Broncos as a free-agent last year. They felt his successor Chris Henry was solid; he's poised for the NFL draft a year early. They feel Jennings and Smith are going to be complimentary to the new offense. It's easy to believe.</SPAN></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><FONT face=Arial>Top Running Backs<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></B></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><FONT face=Arial>Chris Jennings, 5-10, 225, Sr., 1L<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><FONT face=Arial>Xavier Smith, 5-11, 196, So., 1L<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><FONT face=Arial>Terry Longbons, 5-11, 200, So., SQ<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt"><FONT face=Arial>Glyndon Bolasky, 5-11, 208, Fr-RS<o:p></o:p></FONT></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt">Fall Recruits</SPAN></B><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 8pt">: Nicholas Grigsby, 5-10, 178; Joe Reese, 6-1, 190<o:p></o:p></SPAN></FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><o:p><FONT face=Arial> </FONT></o:p></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt">Position Notes...</SPAN></I></B><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"> Tech&rsquo;s featured running back in ?06, Shannon Woods added 75 receptions to his ball carrying duties. If that&rsquo;s the model, that&rsquo;s 75 more touches in open space for a UA back... <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Jennings, initially a walk-on junior college transfer, </st1:place></st1:City>had a 201-yard game on 26 carries (7.7) against Stephen F. Austin, the 10<SUP>th</SUP>-best single-game total in UA history. A week earlier against a very good team, he had 53 yards against LSU. He earned a scholarship at mid-year... <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>RB Chris Henry tested so well at the NFL combine that he should help re-start UA&rsquo;s draft history. The last skill position player picked from UA was receiver Bobby Wade (5<SUP>th</SUP> round) in the 2003 draft... Xavier Smith had two extensive work days in 2006, carrying 10 times for 57 yards against SFA and 12 times for 56 yards at Stanford. His other carry during the year was for seven yards against <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Washington</st1:place></st1:State>... </SPAN></FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"></SPAN></FONT> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial size=4><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"><STRONG>Next: The Defense</STRONG></SPAN></FONT></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"></SPAN></FONT> </P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><FONT face=Arial size=4><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"></SPAN></FONT><FONT face=Arial><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt"></SPAN></FONT> </P>
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