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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Frosh enters RB picture

    Arizona running back Nick Grigsby runs drills during practice yesterday. The true freshman should get playing time against NAU on Saturday, head coach Mike Stoops said.
    Arizona running back Nick Grigsby runs drills during practice yesterday. The true freshman should get playing time against NAU on Saturday, head coach Mike Stoops said.

    Chris Jennings is still the No. 1 running back for the Arizona football team.

    But he might be getting some competition this week from two other backs after head coach Mike Stoops said he wanted to give someone else a chance.

    Jennings split time evenly last season with Chris Henry. The two each had six starts.

    Jennings, however, is coming off a game at Brigham Young on Saturday in which he only had 42 yards rushing.

    “”There was running room, and then there wasn’t running room,”” Jennings said. “”It went both ways. When we do find the creases this week, we’ll run non-stop.””

    Freshman Nick Grigsby has been approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse to start practicing, while receiving a lot of attention in practice.

    Grigsby, Jennings and second-stringer Xavier Smith have been splitting snaps three ways in practice this week.

    “”We’re just trying to spread everybody out,”” Grigsby said. “”We’re all getting the same time between people. We’re all trying to fight for the team.

    “”They want to try to bring fresh legs in every play. We’re gonna try to throw them off with a little speed here, power there.””

    Jennings was impartial when asked if he was concerned about losing his starting position.

    “”It’s not about that,”” Jennings said. “”As a group we just have to continue to run hard, find the creases, go north and south and then score.””

    Jennings averaged 2.9 yards per carry Saturday, also adding 27 yards on nine receptions. He led all Wildcat offensive players in touches (25) by a wide margin – Smith had three carries for 10 yards.

    Jennings said the amount of looks he received caught him off guard.

    “”That first game was not a good way to start the season off, but it’s a motivation. …It was a learning experience,”” he said.

    Grigsby would have been practicing with his fellow Arizona running backs weeks ago if it hadn’t been for the NCAA Clearinghouse hold, based on academic issues, and would have gotten some time in the BYU game, Stoops said.

    “”He’ll be a factor before it’s all said and done if he can continue to improve,”” Stoops said. “”He brings a dimension of speed and quickness that we need at that position as well.

    “”I would imagine he’ll play a substantial amount. Learning the running back position is very difficult in this system. Whether he can grasp it all, we’ll see, but I would imagine he’ll get some touches.””

    Stoops added: “”We need some solid play out of those guys. …We’ve just got to find a good mix and some form of identity offensively.””

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