clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Michael Wiley’s potential return means to Arizona’s rushing attack

arizona-football-michael-wiley-jedd-fisch-jonah-coleman-dj-williams-rayshon-luke-pac-12-oregon-state Arizona Athletics

Arizona started the year with Michael Wiley as the workhorse for its rushing attack, but an injury in the first quarter against Stanford has caused him to miss the last three games.

In Jedd Fisch’s Monday press conference he said the Wildcats were close to everybody being healthy and ready to play in Saturday’s game against No. 11 Oregon State, which means Wiley is a step closer to returning to the field. That means the UA’s deep running back rotation will get even deeper.

“When Mike is healthy he’ll be back in rotation and we’ll just find a balance,” offensive coordinator Brennan Carroll said. “It’s not easy to do but we’ve got a plan for it, guys have great roles, they’ve been great in their roles.”

In his absence, sophomore Jonah Coleman has stepped into the lead-back role while there have been more opportunities for senior DJ Williams and sophomore Rayshon Luke.

In the win at Washington State, UA showed the ability to have a balanced rushing attack as all three healthy backs carried the ball more than 10 times and each scored.

Coleman led the attack, rushing 11 times for 70 yards and three touchdowns, Luke rushed 10 times for 71 yards and a TD and Williams rushed 12 times for 37 yards and a score.

“D.J. has been fantastic, Speedy has finally caught fire right there and Jonah’s been doing what Jonah has been doing, just add Mike (Wiley) to it just one more thing they have to deal with,” Carroll said.

A key to making the rushing attack successful is having all the backs be able to run every play, thus keeping the opponents’ defense guessing by not allowing them to pick up on tendencies.

“Everybody kind of knows what everybody’s doing,” Carroll said. “Some guys have kind of one play here, one play there but for the most part they all know what they are doing. They can exchange in and out without a problem and it’s happened a couple times this year.”