Arizona began its first set of practices under new head coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff last week and it has been quite a transition for the Wildcats' football program. A fresh start for the players on the roster, many are hoping to take advantage of the new opportunity under a brand new coaching staff.
An area that is expected to receive a huge boost from the system and philosophy change is the running back position. Rodriguez has a history of leaning on the running game more than passing, which should pique the interest of several players on the roster.
One player looking to benefit from the adjustments is Daniel Jenkins. As a sophomore in 2011, Jenkins ran for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. The soon-to-be junior is well aware of what the system can do for him and believes the entire backfield is going to take advantage of the changes in the team's offensive approach.
"It's definitely beneficial towards the running back," Jenkins said "Coach Rich Rod has that running type of offense that's definitely going to be an asset to me and all of the other running backs."
Jenkins is the second leading returning rusher from a season ago and would like to see his own production increase in the coming season. Along with fellow running back Ka'Deem Carey, Jenkins believes the pair can make the type of impact in the spread-option that Oregon received from having LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner split carries in the Ducks' backfield.
"That's the plan," Jenkins said. "We have a lot of good backs - Greg Nwoko, Taimi Tutogi, me, Ka'Deem, Kylan Butler - we have a lot of talent. Either way we're going to be good with anybody who is in the game."
The early theme of Rodriguez's first practice sessions at Arizona was how much more intense it was over what the players had experienced under the previous regime. Count Jenkins as one of the players that notices the increased intensity.
"It's a big difference," Jenkins said. "The intensity is at an all-time high and the pace is constant. We're running everywhere full speed."
There has been talk regarding the difficulty of the transition and how it is likely going to take time before the team fully comprehends the system. Jenkins already sees progress, however, and is confident that the UA is going to have a much stronger season than many anticipate.
"I honestly think we are going to be fine," Jenkins said. "I think we are going to be really good this year with this offense. The guys are picking it up. Everybody seems to be buying in and liking the system. I think we are doing well so far and we're going to continue."
The arrival of Rodriguez has seemingly been a necessary breath of fresh air for the Arizona football program. Early impressions of his new head coach have led Jenkins to be very optimistic in regards to the future of UA football.
"Coach Rich Rod is an interesting coach," Jenkins said. "He's very unique in what he demands and asks of his players. I think he is going to shape this team into a very strong force in the Pac-12. I think we are going to be good this year."
Jenkins looking to benefit
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