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Arizona football: Jamardre Cobb brings new-found toughness to Wildcats' offense

Wait, shouldn't he be making an impact on defense?

Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

High school teammates Jamardre Cobb and Marquis Ware have arguably been the two recruits of the Rich Rodriguez era with the highest expectations.

With the Arizona Wildcats linebacker situation the way it is right now, you'd think that both of them would be at least playing on that side of the ball now.

But Ware is still struggling to find the field, whereas Cobb has found a role, at fullback.

Rich Rodriguez moved him to fullback when school started, just as fall camp was ending. While he may just have the one touchdown catch against Nevada, and another reception that went for -9 yards against UCLA, his presence is still being felt down near the goal line.

"In our little highlight film we showed the team yesterday, other than Will (Parks' big hit), his was the next three highlights," Rodriguez said on Monday. "There were three plays in a row of a true fullback being a fullback."

It's been a slow process getting Cobb acclimated to the offensive side of the ball and learning plays, but he's progressing as quickly as he needs to right now.

"What we were doing with him, it was just a couple of plays," explained coach. "And each week, we've been able to add more and more to 'em. So now instead of running just one play or two plays, there's half a dozen that he does in our offense."

"He had one play to learn when he came over," Rodriguez joked. "And then he had two. And then he had three. And now he's ready for some more."

"He's learning. Coach Magee is bringing him along. He's certainly a physical presence. Whatever he weighs, and I call him 'Pork Chop' for a variety of reasons. But when he brings that full load on you with good pad level, it can lead to some pretty good collisions."

That physicality is one thing that Arizona was missing in the redzone last season. Heading into this year, people thought that would be taken over by a tight end package with Josh Kern or Trevor Wood, but now it's being taken over with three running back sets, with Nick Wilson, Orlando Bradford and Cobb all surrounding Anu Solomon.

"Nowadays, it's hard to find guys that are willing to do that during games," coach added about Cobb's ability to make the big block. "The NFL's still looking for guys. And Jamardre's not only willing to do it, but he embraces it, and it's given us a little bit of a presence offensively that we needed."

The rest of the guys have taken notice of the improved physicality, including Arizona's quarterback.

"We call him 'Pork Chop'," Anu Solomon joked while echoing RichRod's nickname for him. "He contributes really well. He's big out there. He's not afraid to hit somebody, and that showed this past week. He's been finding his guy and just laying the wood on him."

If Pork Chop and his six plays are what this offense needs to succeed close to the goal line, then let's leave the tight end dreams in the past, and welcome in the new era of Arizona fullbacks.