A Season in Review: Running back

Arizona has some stability at running back going into next season, but questions as well. Read on for a review and look forward of the position.

Going into next season, the running back is probably one of the more stable positions on the roster. Nick Wilson is the clear cut starter despite there being concern about his history of injuries.

Last season, Wilson ran for 1,375 yards and 16 touchdowns despite missing one game. In fact, Wilson’s numbers would have been better if he was not battling injury in the middle of the season.

Wilson had seven games in which he ran for more than 100 yards, including a 218-yard effort at Utah and five games in which he scored multiple touchdowns.

The biggest question is which back will step up and be able to give Wilson a break or get significant carries should he get injured.

This past season, Terris Jones-Grigsby was that player and he put together 567 yards and three touchdowns.

Arizona probably does not win the Oregon game without him, as he ran for 115 yards and a score and caught four passes for 95 yards.

Sure, Jones-Grigsby was not an elite back, but he was more than sufficient in the role that he had. He gave the Wildcats 10-15 carries a game and ran hard on each one, which is why the coaching staff kept him as the second back.

Now that he is gone, the staff will be looking at a handful of backs. For starters, Jared Baker returns for his senior season.

Baker has shown to be a decent back in the limited carries that he has had, but you often wonder if a redshirt senior is going to be able to step up and get more carries if he has not been able to do so since arriving at Arizona.

Zach Green battled some weight issues upon arriving at Arizona and has been a model citizen, doing everything the staff has asked him to do. Now that he has lost significant weight, this is easily the biggest spring for him since arriving at Arizona.

Jonathan Haden was used primarily as a slot receiver in his limited action, but it is possible that the staff chooses to use him out of the backfield more. He is the fastest option at running back, but it is hard to know what he will bring considering his limited experience.

In addition, Orlando Bradford is probably a bit of a dark horse. He runs similar to Wilson in the sense that he is a powerback, but he is dangerous in the passing game and a hard enough worker to where he should be a fast learner.

The only real concern going into next season is Wilson’s health. There’s too many options for Arizona to not be able to find a second or even third back that can get a few carries per game.

Wilson is the guy and will be until he leaves Arizona, but he may not be ready to get 25-30 carries on a consistent basis.

Having options definitely is not a bad thing and running back will be a fun position to see play out.


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