Caraway learning to protect the football

James Caraway cradled the football tightly to his chest, then moved the ball over to his other side, just as if he was waiting to take a hit from a defender. Except, he was talking to the media. Caraway led all rushers in the Cowboy's scrimmage Saturday. Go inside to see what he had to say about his performance. If you're not a member of you're missing out.

James Caraway cradled the football tightly to his chest, then moved the ball over to his other side, just as if he was waiting to take a hit from a defender.

Except, he was talking to the media.

Biding his time last fall as a redshirt behind the likes of Devin Moore, Wynel Seldon and even Darius Terry and James Davis, Caraway had a chance to work on his conditioning and learn.

This spring is now the time for the speedster from Topeka, Kan., to make his mark with the Wyoming program.

First and foremost, to see any action this fall, he has to learn how to hang onto the football.

"That's the biggest thing with the whole team, to hold onto the ball," Caraway said. "We got a lot of turnovers and we don't want that. We want to be a completely different team than last year. Everybody, we're all trying to hold onto the football. That is big aspect of it."

Caraway not only did that on Saturday in the Cowboys scrimmage in the Indoor Practice Facility, but he led all rushers with 44 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns.

His first score came on a 1-yard plunge, with the second on a scramble from 13 yards out.

"The offensive line is everything," Caraway said. "I couldn't go anywhere without them. They just blocked, I just pushed and I walked in for the first one (touchdown). In the second one, the receivers were flying all over the place, hitting guys, and I walked in for the second one."

As a team, Wyoming ran for 132 yards on 36 carries and scored three times.

"I think the running backs are doing a nice job of running hard," Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen said. "As we got going, Caraway started hitting the hole a little better instead of dancing. I feel good about that position right now."

Terry finished with 39 yards on 10 carries and Davis ran for 10 yards and one score on three carries as the offense prevailed, 51-23.

Senior quarterback Karsten Sween was 17-of-26 for 154 yards and an 18-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver David Leonard. Junior Dax Crum was 11-of-12 for 98 yards.

With a new coaching staff, Caraway said that all of the backs are going to have a chance because there is no bias with coaches and players.

"If you perform, you're going to get a chance," Caraway said. "I feel like the best players will be out on the field, and hopefully I will be one of those best players."

Caraway credits running backs coach Jason Ray for their development in this early going.

"He was at Missouri, he played at Missouri, so he knows this system," Caraway said. "He is teaching us how to learn everything, even at a receiver aspect and a running back aspect as well. He has a lot of valuable information, so we're thankful for that."

For the 5-foot-11, 182-pound Caraway, speed has always been his strength. For his continued progress, he said he needs to use that speed, along with a little toughness and common sense.

"I'm kind of a smaller guy, I got a lot of speed, so I try to bounce off of everything," Caraway said. "I have mentors and coaches who tell me to run downhill, so I guess I need to run downhill."

After a couple of weeks, Caraway said that the spring drills have been critical in the learning phase, not only for himself, but for the team.

"It's wonderful to have a team, to be closer as a unit … just see what we are doing and the progress we are making. I love it," he said.

And no, Caraway doesn't sleep with a football, although he said that might not be a bad idea. The mindset of not coughing up the rock is what it is all about.

"No fumbling and go hard every play, 110 percent," Caraway said. "That's what it takes to win. We want to win, and that's what we are going to do."

"I've been blessed to be here and I have been blessed to not be hurt and play. I've have to keep working hard, keep praying and keep holding onto the ball."

"Simple as that."

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