Tag:Ka'Deem Carey
Posted on: March 3, 2012 5:47 pm

Spring Practice Primer: Arizona

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Arizona.

Spring Practice Starts: March 5

Spring Game: April 14

Returning starters: Six offensive, five defensive, two specialists.

Three Things To Look For:

1.  Is Matt Scott as snug a fit for Rich Rodriguez's offense as he seems to be? Many college football fans have probably forgotten about Scott, but that's not his fault; the fifth-year senior and de facto Wildcat starter made highly successful cameos in both 2009 and 2010 before injuries and the emergence of Nick Foles consigned him to the bench. Though he's not going to be Pat White or Denard Robinson, Scott has more than enough mobility to be a weapon on the run -- his two 2010 starts yielded more than 130 combined yards on the ground -- and sufficient accuracy to keep defenses plenty honest. In short, Scott should be exactly the sort of quarterback Rodriguez would have wanted to inherit, a sort of Tate Forcier-type with vastly more experience (and vastly less, you know, academic ineligibility and such). If spring camp shows signs that Scott's picking the offense up as quickly as Rodriguez would want, the Wildcat offense could be something dynamic come the fall.

2. Are you sure? Who are the difference-making skill-position players? If Rodriguez was handed a nice housewarming gift in the person of Scott, on paper he hasn't been nearly as lucky at running back or wide receiver. Both the Wildcats' leading rusher from a year ago (Keola Antonin) and receiver (All-American Juron Criner) have departed, not to mention the team's second- and third-leading receivers as well--2,232 receiving yards in all. The good news is that rising sophomore Ka'Deem Carey should be ready to build on a promising debut season in the backfield, and that 6'4" senior Dan Buckner should have a breakout season in the receiving corps; the bad news is that if they're not, Scott may be forced to shoulder a heavier load than even he's capable of carrying.

3. Can the defense stay healthy? With Rodriguez's old ace defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel back in his staffing fold -- a failing at Michigan that, more than any other individual factor, led to Rodriguez's downfall in Ann Arbor -- the Wildcats shouldn't lack for defensive know-how. And in safety tandem Adam Hall and Marquis Flowers, defensive linemen Justin Washington and Kirifi Taula, and linebacker Jake Fischer, Castell will have some tools to work with. But that assumes those tools stay healthy--Fischer tore an ACL in spring camp 2011 and missed the entire season, a blow from which the linebacking corps never seemed to truly recover. If Casteel can get out of this spring with all of his key pieces intact, the Wildcats should be able to take a step forward on the defensive side of the ball in 2012.

To check in on the rest of the Pac-12 and other BCS conferences, check out the Spring Practice Schedule

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Posted on: June 29, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 2:14 pm

Report: medical issue could cost Criner season

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's far too soon to panic, but Arizona could be staring down the barrel of a major, major blow to its 2011 hopes.

That's if you listen to Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen, who dropped this little bombshell into a piece about Canyon Del Oro High School's Pac-12 recruits (emphasis added):
[Wildcat running back signee Ka'Deem] Carey's availability somewhat offsets concerns that All-Pac-10 receiver Juron Criner might not be available for training camp in August. Criner's status for the 2011 season remains uncertain because of undisclosed medical reasons.
To reiterate how big a deal this might be (and how surprised we are to see a lead like this buried), Criner isn't just your average All-Pac-12 wideout, if there are such things. We're talking about the nation's seventh-leading receiver a year ago with 1,244 yards, a CBSSports.com second-team All-American, a first-round lock in next year's NFL Draft and the Wildcats' leading receiver a year ago by more than 30 receptions and 700 yards.

If Criner really does miss the entire 2011 season, this is a hammer blow for a team that's already struggling mightily with injuries. (How mightily? Try four different ACL tears.)

As for the likelihood of that scenario, as we said, the time for the wailing and gnashing of teeth from Wildcat fans isn't at hand just yet. But it doesn't look good. The Mercury News's Jon Wilner reports (in response to Hansen) that Criner withdrew from a recent ESPN "publicity tour" over what was termed a "family matter." He added this:
I heard last night that it’s not an injury, but it’s serious.
If it is, so are the offensive issues suddenly confronting Mike Stoops' football team.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com