Camp Watch; Runningbacks

In our second look at the big storylines of fall camp we take a look at the running backs. It is a position with a lot of bodies, but few sure things.

Who's No. 1?

Chris Jennings enters camp as the No. 1 RB, but he will have to fend off a ton of runners to keep the spot. Xavier Smith has been a guy to receive a ton of praise after summer workouts the past few years, but has not turned the accolades into performance. Young guys will also get a chance to unseat the former walk-on.

Number of carries

There were plenty of touches for backs in the spring scrimmages, but a lot came from passes. Just how many rushing attempts will the backs get? We know Mike Stoops values being able to run the football, but the spread is predicated on the short passing game. Rushes could be at a premium.

Terry Longbons

The Peoria, Ariz. running back came to Arizona with a lot of recruiting hype but has yet to carry the ball. Injuries and personal tragedy sidelined the redshirt sophomore, so this could be a very important camp. With players ahead of him on the depth chart and young guys nipping at his heals, he may need to prove his worth this year or risk dropping on the depth chart.

Youth is served

There has been a lot of praise for the incoming freshmen, as well as redshirt freshman Glyndon Bolasky. Nic Grigsby and Joseph Reese have a lot of ability, but is it enough to jump past veteran backs? Reese is wildly athletic, but may be so fast that he gets looks at receiver. Grigsby is a prototype spread back, but can he learn the offense? Bolasky is coming off a knee injury, so health and conditioning could be a concern.

Big Earl

Earl Mitchell became a fan favorite in his freshman season. Now fans are anxious to see how he fits into the offense. Early schemes had him playing a hybrid role of fullback, H- and tight end, but now word has it that he will be in the backfield exclusively. The curiosity will be in seeing how the team gets Mitchell the ball.

Things to look for:

*Who gets reps. Early reps will be a huge indicator of how players are on the depth chart.

*Bolasky's knee and conditioning. All too often guys get heavy after injuries. They lift too much upper body while rehabbing and put on excess weight because they can't condition.

*Joseph Reese's shoulder. The freshman has had shoulder issues the past few high school seasons. How are the shoulders and how have they affected him in the weight room?

*Touches. Just how many times do the Cats attempt to run.


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