Running back is a position where players tend to thrive under Rich Rodriguez. In his first season as head coach at Arizona, Rodriguez helped turn Ka'Deem Carey into the nation's leading rusher as a sophomore. Rodriguez has also had a hand in the development of other strong backs during his days at West Virginia such as Noel Devine and Steve Slaton.
The head coach's résumé is well known among high school athletes and running backs, specifically, are naturally drawn to his offense. For that reason, Zachary Green seems like a perfect fit for what UA plans to do going forward. The 5-foot-10, 220-pound running back from Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure is a speedster who can take on a variety of tasks in the spread offense.
Green clicked with the Wildcats coaching staff early in their communications. He took an unofficial visit last spring and it didn't take long for him to realize that Arizona was where he wanted to play college football.
"The moment I knew I was going to Arizona was when I was taking my unofficial visit." Green said. "I sat down with Coach Rodriguez and Coach Magee and they told me what I wanted to hear and what I needed to hear."
The St. Bonaventure prospect got the sense that Rodriguez and the coaching staff were a loyal bunch and that made a huge difference in making his decision so early.
"Coach Rodriguez sat me down in his office," Green said. "And he told me, ‘If you're committed to us, we're committed to you. That means if something happens to you in your senior season, we're still honoring that scholarship.' No other coaches told me that and that meant a lot to me. You're only worth as much as your word so I really respected that when he told that."
Green has been committed to UA since way back in April and he never once thought of wavering. During that time, Green and the staff have been able to build a strong relationship, but it extends even further than that. The running back's parents have become acquainted with the Arizona coaching staff as well.
"It couldn't be better," Green said. "They came out for in-home visits and in-school visits. They love my family, we get along great. Coach Rodriguez is a funny guy. Coach Magee is the funniest guy. My dad cooked for them and the wide receivers coach and it's like a big family."
With the departure of Daniel Jenkins, the spot behind Carey is wide open and Green believes he can compete for playing time. What he really wants is to compete for a starting job and while that may be a very lofty goal to set -- considering the starter is the defending national rushing champ – his confidence is where it needs to be in order to become a successful player under Rodriguez.
"I'm going to battle for playing time," Green said. "I'm not going anywhere to redshirt. I am going for that starting position. I am not going for any second string position. I'm going for the starting job."
Green recognizes the progress Arizona made in Rodriguez's first year at the helm. He also realizes the UA head coach did it with a roster with holes all over the place, on both sides of the ball. For those reasons, Green believes the Wildcats will climb to the next level during his tenure as a Wildcat.
"I definitely see us doing better than 8-5," Green said. "Especially since he did what he did this year with a team he didn't recruit. The outcome of this season could have been way different too. "
Green wants to start
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