Arizona Football Depth Chart: Can Ka'Deem Carey match last year's success?

Ka'Deem Carey looks to improve upon a 2012 season in which he led the nation in rushing - USA TODAY Sports

Arizona's running backs are definitely the key to a successful 2013

The offense has tons of questions...whether it's who's actually taking snaps, who will be the top receivers, and how will the offensive line respond to losing Kyle Quinn.  But among all these questions is one certainty.

Ka'Deem Carey is still the man.

Carey, who led the nation in rushing in 2012 with 1,929 rushing yards looks to be the Wildcats back to a postseason berth.

Key Losses:


Key Returners:

Ka'Deem Carey, Daniel Jenkins, Kylan Butler, Terris Jones

Key Newcomers:

Pierre Cormier, Zach Green


Even though some people have called Ka'Deem Carey the best running back in the nation, including PAC-12 Network's Rick Neuheisel, the junior running back can't do it all on his own.

"That's great, I don't really pay attention to that.  I just pay attention to what I need to do on the field.  If he says that I say 'thanks', but I'd rather be the underdog."

"(Leading the nation in running) was cool.  It was just a good year."

"I've been working on my breakaway speed, getting out in the open and separating from people," continued Carey.  "And my route running, separating from the defense when I run my route and be able to catch the ball from the quarterback."

"(The offensive line) is starting to get the concept of what we're trying to do.  It's all coming together."

"During the offseason I prepared myself to be a better back all-around.  I'm just going to play my role in the offense and have a great year."

But if there's one thing that the public scrimmage showed, he has plenty of help in the back field.

Senior Daniel Jenkins has 106 career carries, amassing 495 rushing yards and four TDs in his three years in Tucson.

"I got a lot of stuff I'm responsible for learning," said Jenkins.  "They have me doing a lot different stuff in the offense as far as flexing out in the slot."

"We had a big running game last year, but now they're gonna have two backs to worry about with me and Ka'Deem, and I think our talent should expose a lot of defenses.  It's going to be hard to stop and should yield a lot of exciting plays for the fans to see."

"I think we both push each other.  Anytime you've got two special players on the same field, the competition brings the best out of you."

Carey added, "We talk about how to make this team better, how can two running backs get together and be a good combo.  Whenever I see him slacking or whenever he sees me slacking we tell each other just to improve our game."

"I think I'm running pretty well so far," said Jenkins.

On his goals for this year, Jenkins said "I expect to have a tremendous affect in the passing game, to show my catching ability and route running ability.  In the running game, to show my ability to run the ball, more than I have.  And I want to return a lot."

In addition to Carey and Jenkins, one freshman really stood out during the scrimmage.  Pierre Cormier.  Out of San Diego, the 5-10, 180 lb. back looked like he could follow in Ka'Deem's foot steps.  He just runs people over and keeps his feet moving downhill all the time.

"I think the running back group is blessed because we have a lot of experience," said Jenkins.  New guys like Cormier have the resources in Carey, Jenkins, and some other veterans like Terris Jones and Kylan Butler.

One other freshman Ka'Deem Carey brought up was Zach Green.  "He runs like a train, so we call him Jerome...'The Bus'.  That's just the way he runs."

One thing's for sure, especially early in the year.  The amount of success the offense has will rely on how well the running game works.  As long as Carey and Jenkins can stay healthy, I see no reason why Arizona can't have the best season on the ground in school history, eclipsing last year's mark of 2,961 yards.

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