Position battle: Second running back

There is an opening for a running back to step up now that Daniel Jenkins has moved on. Read on to see our breakdown of the candidates for backup carries.

It's no secret that Ka'Deem Carey will be starting at running back for Arizona, but there is a question as to which back will step up in order to back up Carey. Although he was one of the top backs in the country last season, Carey battled some health issues. If a player can emerge as a backup to Carey, it will extend his ability to contribute even more.

Jared Baker: Baker looks much better than he did last season and the biggest difference may be that his confidence has increased.

"I feel a lot better," Baker said. "I messed up all the time last year but I am really getting the hang of it now and I am doing a lot better. I feel more confident than I did last year. I feel like I am a better fit now."

Baker only got 20 carries last season, but it is easy to assume that he will be able to get more. If Baker is able to translate his spring into production next season, Arizona is going to have a legitimate backup.

Although Baker may not be big, he is powerful for his size and has the ability to hit holes well. He is obviously not Carey, but Arizona doesn't need him to be.

Kylan Butler: Butler is another small back and Rodriguez is usually partial to those in his offense. He was not able to get many carries last season, even when Arizona was already up by a lot. Those carries instead went to Baker and he probably has a leg up in the competition right now.

Baker did get three more carries than Baker in the spring game, but Baker was able to score on one of his four carries. Rodriguez is going to give Butler a chance, but it will not be easy unless he has improved from last season and can be more than an effective special teams player.

Pierre Cormier: Cormier is the wildcard here because most coaches are going to want to redshirt freshmen. Cormier is not going to start over Carey, so the coaching staff is going to have to decide if it either wants to use both backs or give Cormier enough carries as a backup. If not, it makes sense to redshirt him.

One advantage that Cormier has is that his high school played a similar offense to what Arizona runs and when he committed, he said that was a big reason why.

"I liked the offense that they were running," Cormier said. "It's really similar to what I run right now. It was really good to see the tempo that they play at and the intensity of their practice. I can see myself fitting there well."

Cormier is explosive and the perfect back for Arizona's system. In our minds, his playing time will come solely come down to whether or not the coaches want to redshirt him.

If the coaches do not redshirt him, that means Cormier is good enough to play and he will be the best of the three backs fighting for backup carries.


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