Friday Fix: Arizona’s offensive success with Ka’Deem Carey can make Rich Rod attractive to NFL teams





With Chip Kelly a hot commodity for NFL teams does that mean Rich Rodriguez will become one too if the UA reaches a BCS bowl?

With Chip Kelly a hot commodity for NFL teams does that mean Rich Rodriguez will become one too if the UA reaches a BCS bowl?

By winning the NCAA rushing crown for yardage (1,929) and average yards per game (148.38), Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey joins an elite list of running backs who have mostly gone on to an NFL career. The only rushing champ in the last 10 years who has not advanced to the NFL is North Texas’ Jamario Thomas, who rushed for 1,801 yards in 10 games as a true freshman in 2004. All the other NCAA running back champions since 2002 have managed to stick in the NFL, although Northern Illinois’ Garrett Wolfe (1,928 yards in 13 games in 2007) and North Texas’ Patrick Cobbs (1,680 in 11 games) are currently out of the league. So the NFL is on the horizon for Carey. Is it also for Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez? …

Carey’s rushing title means the Pac-12 has featured the top running back in the last three years. Oregon’s LaMichael James won the rushing title in 2010 and 2011. Two spread offenses with the top running back the last three years? No wonder the NFL wants Oregon coach Chip Kelly. The spread offense can work in the NFL because of its multi-dimensional threat and Kelly is bent to prove it. If Arizona continues to improve under Rodriguez and works its way into a BCS bowl in the next few years, you better believe the NFL will come calling especially if Kelly enjoys success in the NFL. After all, it was Rodriguez who provided Kelly the impetus to make the no-huddle read-option spread offense work in the college game. The good news for Arizona if this scenario happens is that a team that competes in a BCS bowl can respond with a good coaching hire. Rodriguez will put Arizona in an enviable position whether he stays or goes. …

On the same day Carey was assured the rushing title — Oregon’s Kenjon Barner needed 306 yards against Kansas State and finished with 143 — the Wildcats’ basketball team achieved a historic win over Colorado. Carey is the UA’s first running back to win the rushing championship since the “Cactus Comet” Art Luppino won consecutive titles in 1954 and 1955. The Wildcats’ basketball team is the first to start 13-0 since the 1931-32 team started 16-0 and finished 18-2. … For the UA to eclipse the 16-0 mark achieved by Fred Enke’s team, the Wildcats must beat Utah tomorrow and then win on the road at Oregon, Oregon State and ASU. How special would that be if Arizona played at Tempe for the chance to start 17-0? The most difficult game in this stretch will be at Oregon. Oregon State has also given Sean Miller’s teams fits. If the UA goes unscathed during that stretch, the sky is the limit. After that, UCLA and Shabazz Muhammad visit McKale. Fun times are ahead. …

Pac-12 director of officials Ed Rush agreed with the referees waving off Colorado's three-pointer at the end of regulation Thursday

Pac-12 director of officials Ed Rush agreed with the referees waving off Colorado’s three-pointer at the end of regulation Thursday

Ed Rush is the director of basketball officials for the Pac-12 after holding the same title with the NBA. His office is undoubtedly busy this morning from calls by the Colorado athletic department concerning last night’s 92-83 victory for Arizona. Many questionable calls occurred including the three-pointer at the buzzer by Sabatino Chen being waved off. The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy wrote the best recap I’ve seen detailing how suspect the officiating was in the game. … “I would like an explanation,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle told ESPN.com about Chen’s shot being waved off. “I think the University of Colorado deserves one and the players and administration and student body and everybody involved in Buff Nation deserves an explanation. It’s not going to change the result. I’ve never been involved in something like this.” Boyle wanted an explanation and he got one from Rush: “Game officials reviewed video replays of the end of regulation in accordance with NCAA playing rules and determined the ball was still on the shooter’s fingertips when the official game clock on the floor expired. Per conference protocol, the officials conducted a thorough review courtside and viewed multiple angles of the play before confirming the ruling. I have reviewed the video replays and agree with the ruling.” … The bottom line is that the referees, led by Final Four veteran Verne Harris, observed Chen’s shot for at least three minutes after the buzzer sounded. If they believed the evidence was conclusive that the ball left Chen’s hand in time the play would have stood. Why have video replay otherwise? Boyle thinks they should get rid of it. Not a chance. If I was a Colorado follower, I would question why a 17-point lead disappeared and it took so long to set up the last second heave by Chen. Arizona makes a return trip to Colorado on Valentine’s Day. No love will be lost that day in the Pac-12’s newest, hottest rivalry. …

Rush is a native of Chester, Pa., where Class of 2013 high-profile recruit Rondae Jefferson hails from. Jefferson, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Chester High School became a YouTube sensation last week with a breakaway slam off a pass delivered to himself off the backboard in transition. In the first half of a game against Imhotep Institute (Pa.), Jefferson grabbed a rebound and went full court dribbling through three defenders, eventually throwing the ball off the backboard to himself for the slam. His future UA teammate Elliott Pitts and the Concord (Calif.) De La Salle High School team captured the IHoop Gear Division of the MaxPreps Holiday Classic by beating Patriot-Riverside 56-41 on Dec. 29. Pitts led the Spartans with 20 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals in the championship win. … Another potential Class of 2013 recruit, forward Aaron Gordon of San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty won the slam-dunk competition with a double-double pump at the Les Schwab Invitational near Portland. If Gordon picks Arizona over Washington and Kentucky, the Wildcats would feature three of the best athletes they’ve had on the same roster: Nick Johnson, Jefferson and Gordon. Gabe York also gave Johnson tough competition in the dunk competition at the Red-Blue Scrimmage in October. When was the last time Arizona had that kind of athletic talent? When Hassan Adams and Andre Iguodala were teammates. But the depth of Miller’s Wildcats next season, especially if Gordon signs, far outweighs that the Adams-Iguodala era. …

Marcus Williams' suspension from the Chinese Professional League is another unfortunate development in his career

Marcus Williams’ suspension from the Chinese Professional League is another unfortunate development in his career

Look for former Arizona player Marcus Williams to try to play in Europe before the end of this season. He was banned last week from the Chinese professional league for six months after testing positive for marijuana use. He was averaging a league-best 30.9 points a game. Williams’ performance — he also averaged 6.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists — will definitely catch somebody’s eye in Europe. His setback in China follows a failed attempt to make an NBA roster after a stint in the D-League. His hope for playing professionally again in the U.S. is over. … The NCAA Division I Leadership Council is contemplating allowing transfers to be eligible immediately if they have at least a 2.60 GPA. Athletes who qualify for the transfer exemption in the academic progress rating (APR) would be permitted to play immediately at the new school. Currently, athletes are eligible to transfer with a 2.0 GPA but must sit out one academic year. Players who transfer with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.6 adversely affect a program’s APR. The NCAA believes the proposed change will reward those athletes who uphold a school’s APR by allowing them to play immediately after transferring. That would change the face of collegiate athletics even more toward parity and an overall lack of quality. Continuity would be more difficult for coaches to maintain. Also, it puts athletes in a tenuous position. If they decide to transfer and must sit out a year, the public will know the athlete does not have at least a 2.60 GPA. Then you get into student privacy rules. It would be a mess. …

One NFL personnel observer is not enamored with Nick Foles' overall skills

One NFL personnel observer is not enamored with Nick Foles’ overall skills

Arizona baseball coach Andy Lopez was one of the featured speakers at today’s American Baseball Coaches Association convention in Chicago. Lopez spoke about building a championship program. Also scheduled to speak were other college coaches, high school coaches, individual trainers and big-league coaches. … Former Arizona quarterback Nick Foles completed his rookie season with 1,699 yards passing for the Eagles. With the rumors swirling about Kelly potentially hired by the Eagles, what does that do to Foles’ immediate future? Foles is not a prototypical quarterback for Kelly’s read-option offense. He could wind up in a trade to wherever former Eagles coach Andy Reid is hired. In an ironic twist, the Eagles could take a look at Matt Scott, who is a running quarterback who would fit into Kelly’s scheme. … Greg Cosell of NFL Films rates prospects and he is not enamored with Foles’ ability. “I’ve watched every game of Foles really closely,” Cosell is quoted as saying by PhillyMag.com. “I think there’s been some steady improvement, some incremental improvement, but I must admit, I’m not blown away by anything. I don’t think there’s a lot of pop in his arm, and I think when you watch him throw live… you probably say his arm is pretty strong. But I don’t think he plays that way, and that concerns me.” According to PhillyMag.com, Foles completed only six of 27 pass attempts that were thrown for more than 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. “I don’t think the ball jumps off his hand,” Cosell said. “Every once in awhile, it does, but I think overall, he’s not one of those guys you look at and say wow, that ball really jumps. I just don’t think he throws like that, and that’s a concern for me. I also think he’s not real comfortable in the pocket at this point. I think he has a tendency to move a little too much. I think he has a tendency to play a little randomly. All this is not a surprise to me, given his college career.” More fuel for Foles’ fire, wouldn’t you say?

CAREER NFL STATS OF FORMER ARIZONA QUARTERBACKS

Player Years G GS Cmp Att Int TD Yds Lng
Fred Enke Jr. 1948-54 68 26 297 689 53 31 4169 65
Nick Foles 2012- 7 6 161 265 5 6 1699 46
Eddie Wilson 1962-65 56 2 90 186 6 5 1251 55
Bill Demory 1973-74 7 1 12 39 8 2 159 31

Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner



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