Jenkins ready to step up

It is no secret that this is a big year for Daniel Jenkins. Read on to see how he is approaching it, what Rich Rodriguez thinks of him, and more.

By now, everyone has become well aware that Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez likes to run the ball a lot. At every stop he's made throughout his coaching career, the Wildcats' head coach has emphasized the rushing attack more so than the passing game.

That's why it's important that UA gets production from multiple running backs on the roster. There has been a lot of fanfare surrounding former Canyon Del Oro star running back Ka'Deem Carey, but for Arizona to have a successful season, it's going to take more than just one running back giving consistent production.

This is a big year for Daniel Jenkins. After patiently waiting his turn for three years, the junior running back is expected to make a big impact in the new scheme Rodriguez has brought to the table. Jenkins sees the opportunity in front of him and is enthused by what the new offense can do for him.

"I think there's definitely a lot more running the ball," Jenkins said. "You just have to focus on ball security because the running backs are going to get the ball a lot in this offense. So, I am really excited for that."

Jenkins is a well-rounded player at running back, which should serve him well under Rodriguez. Despite running the ball plenty, Jenkins has also noticed that the passing game has been prevalent as well.

"It's a lot of both I think," Jenkins said. "You have to study the offense because you could catch the ball out of the backfield or run it. It's a mixture."

The offense will be strong for the Wildcats as long as quarterback Matt Scott plays an efficient brand of football. According to Jenkins, Scott's arm could be a big weapon with a strong rushing attack supporting him.

"Matt Scott is looking great, better than ever," Jenkins said. "His arm strength is amazing. He can sling that ball."

There will be plenty of attention directed towards the skill positions on offense, but how successful the offense becomes largely depends on how the offensive line adapts to the new system. Jenkins has been impressed with the progression of the unit that will be asked to block for him in the upcoming campaign.

"I think the O-line is doing great," Jenkins said. "They're working hard every day and not losing any steps from the spring and they're progressing really well in the fall."

After a rough season in 2011, Jenkins sees only one direction for the Wildcats to go. With plenty of weapons in place, he and his teammates believe they are going to raise some eyebrows in the upcoming campaign.

"Everybody is expecting that on our side," Jenkins said. "We didn't have a great season last year, so it's expected. We are looking to turn some heads this fall."

When Rodriguez initially arrived, the new UA head coach made it clear that the team had a lot of work to do. With the progress the team has made under the new staff in the off-season, Jenkins sees the program heading in the right direction.

"We have come a long way," Jenkins said. "Coach is doing a great job and we just have to keep progressing and I think we will be alright."

Jenkins has developed both physically and mentally in the off-season. He has positioned himself to have a breakout season and his head coach has been impressed with his body of work over the first couple of practices in fall camp.

"D.J. has had a good couple of practices in pads," Rodriguez said. "He's hungry. I think he sees this as an opportunity because we like to play multiple tailbacks in a game and it's really important to him.

"D.J. is a great young man who is doing all the right things and it's important for him to have a good year and so far he's working like it."

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