2005 Profile: Mike Bell

Arizona has three talented running backs. Each can do something different. They have a shifty guy, a power guy and someone in between. Only one has a chance to lead the team in rushing for the fourth time. That player is senior Mike Bell.

The player who gets most of the publicity is Bell. Bell rushed for 920 yards as a sophomore and added another 950 yards last season. He has a penchant for breaking off big runs and has had a few monster running games.

Bell's greatest asset is his quickness. He is an extremely shifty runner who can make people miss. He has nice speed in the open field, but it is going side to side and changing direction that makes him so tough.

"Mike can make someone miss in a phone booth," said running backs coach Kasey Dunn. "That guy has incredible wiggle."

The lone knock on Bell is that he has a tendency to fumble. He had a key fumble against Utah inside the redzone that likely cost the Wildcats a touchdown. He's worked hard to reduce putting the ball on the ground and if he can eliminate those mistakes he looks like he is headed for a huge season. However, if it persists, expect Chris Henry and Gilbert Harris to steal some of his reps.

With two other talented runners, the Cats have some options with Bell. Expect them to use him all over the field to create mismatches. He can be used as a receiver at times and the Wildcats will work to get him the ball in a variety of ways.

Bell is actually the second leading returning receiver behind Syndric Steptoe and actually led the team with five touchdowns. He is a player who can break off a big run and is good at finding the holes. When things are going bad he does have a tendency to dance and needs to remain focused on running with a purpose.

Bell may be a speed rusher, but he has some good size. He has added 10-15 pounds since the ASU game and has not lost a step. The added muscle should help Bell, who has battled the injury bug from time to time.

Bell missed time this summer in the voluntary workout program as he battled bacterial pneumonia in both lungs. It was so bad that he spent a week at University Medical Center fighting the infection.

Bell lost almost 20 pounds after becoming ill, but has gained at least 15 pounds back.

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