Magee keeping focus on bowl game

Arizona will travel to Calvin Magee's home state for the final game of the season. Read on for his thoughts on the trip, Ka'Deem Carey, and more.

Arizona will be playing its final game of the season in less than two weeks.

While the running backs will be featured for the actual game, it will be nice for Co-Offensive Coordinator Calvin Magee to get back to the state of Louisiana for a few days. Magee is from New Orleans, but hasn't spent too much time sharing his knowledge of the state with his players outside of giving them a warning about the local cuisine.

"I don't talk a lot about Louisiana to the guys," Magee said. "We have been focused on the game. I tell them not to eat too much because there is so much good food. They'll be tempted to eat a lot of the good seafood and things like that.

"I have talked to them a little about the culture of the food and the jazz, even though it's not in New Orleans. We mostly just talk about winning the game though."

Arizona will enter the game boasting the one of the top running backs in the country in Ka'Deem Carey. Magee is the junior's position coach, having spent two years mentoring the back and believes that his star athlete is the best running back in the nation.

"I wish I understood the All-American teams," he said. "I know that he's one to us and I think he should be on every single one of them. I do think he's the best back in the country, at least at the very top. I think he should be on every All-American team."

There is a lot of speculation as to whether Carey will return for his senior year or will opt to go to the NFL. Magee has had small conversations with the All-American, but both have kept their focus on the game in Shreveport.

"We've talked generally, but right now we are just trying to finish this season up strong," Magee said. "We are focused on practice and that's something that he's doing great at. He's just focused on the next practice and the next game. Those conversations will happen, but not right now."

If Carey were to opt to turn pro, Arizona will have two freshmen running backs that spent this season redshirting to fill his place, Zach Green and Pierre Cormier. Both have shown promise on the practice field and are getting more experience with the added practices for the bowl game.

"I'm excited about all of our younger players," Magee said. "They all have grown in terms of learning the offense and understanding the fundamentals.

"There isn't one that has looked better than the other. Zach Green has been good at times and Pierre Cormier has looked really good at times with the opportunities that they've gotten.

"It really excites me for all the extra time and practices we have now, as well as spring ball. They both really get to dive in and learn as much as they can."

Green and Cormier are both a little different in terms of how they run the ball. Arriving at Arizona together, they should both work well on the field together as well.

"They are both a little different and complement each other," he said. "One is more of a power guy, who is a strong runner. The other is more quick and shifty. I like to have some change-of-pace backs.

"They're both competitors, too. That's what I like most about them. They're both competitive whenever they're out there. We want those competitive guys."

Although the freshmen are the first running backs that Rich Rodriguez truly recruited to the desert, redshirt freshman Jared Baker is also in the mix for the starting position next season should Carey decide to leave.

However, the running back suffered an undisclosed injury in the rivalry game against ASU and will likely miss all of spring camp.

"Jared Baker had an unfortunate injury," Magee said. "Going into the spring, he was going to have a heavy role. That hasn't changed out mindset, though. People coming back from injuries have come back better than before. Jared Baker will be back. He will probably miss most of spring ball, but he will factor in."

Magee believes that Baker has been diligent in his studies of the offense over the last two years and that the injury shouldn't affect him very much, as Baker should still be in the running back conversation come fall.

"I hope that the injury doesn't hurt him too much," Magee said. "The best thing for him is that he's a veteran. He knows the offense already. He just needs to heal and think about everything and go from there."

Even with the focus of the fans and media shifting towards next season, the football team is still focused on the last game of the season.

"We're focused on the ball game right now," he said. "We will focus on 2014 as soon as the game ends, but right now, we are just trying to get this last win.

"We're going to try to do what we do. Sometimes, when you have this much time, you start trying to do too much. We need to rely on what we've done well."


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