Arizona football notes: Carey leads the nation, ASU game to be 'Red Out'
Larry Hogan / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sophomore running back Ka’Deem Carey set a goal before the season started, and now he’s inching closer to accomplishing it.
After rushing for more than 500 yards and seven touchdowns in Arizona’s last two games, Carey launched himself into a more prominent national spotlight, as he now leads the nation in rushing and rushing yards per game, with 1,585 and 144.09, respectively.
“In the beginning of the year, you always set high goals,” Carey said. “To set that and accomplish it, it feels good.”
Carey has already broken the school record for rushing yards in a game, tied the record for touchdowns in a game, and broken the conference single-game rushing record against Colorado.
Now he has his sights set on the UA single season rushing record and the most touchdowns in a single season. Carey is only 17 yards from passing Trung Canidate as the school’s single season rush leader and only two touchdowns from being tied with Art Luppino’s touchdown record of 21, set in 1954.
“The rushing record [is more important],” Carey said. “I think it’s more work. You have to grind for each yard.”
Carey exploded for 366 yards against Colorado, thanks to some help from running backs coach Calvin Magee.
Magee sat down with the running backs and instructed them on the cutback lanes that would be available as soon as they hit the hole, and head coach Rich Rodriguez complimented Carey on his improved vision after the meeting.
“It’s just repetition,” running back Daniel Jenkins said. “Coach Magee does a great job explaining where the holes will be. I think that’s why we’re having success.”
Special “Redout” set for ASU
For the first time since the 1980s, the Arizona football team will don red helmets in addition to their red jersey and pants in Friday’s game.
Aside from wearing copper helmets against Oregon State earlier this season, the only other color helmets the Wildcats have worn in the last two decades have been blue and white.
Each of the last two times new helmets were introduced for Arizona, they lost. Against Nebraska in the 2009 Holiday Bowl, the Wildcats lost 33-0 in their first game with white helmets in years.
Against Oregon State, Arizona lost 38-35 debuting copper helmets, which were used to pay tribute to the state’s copper mining history.
“I love them,” Carey said of wearing the red helmets. “I think it’s great we get to wear them against ASU.”
Meaning of ASU rivalry not lost on focused team
Rodriguez spent offseason practices trying to get the Wildcats in shape, installing his system and figuring out who on the team was going to play a contributing role in his first season as head coach.
He also spent a little extra time on preparations for ASU, despite the game’s placement on the schedule.
“It’s important to your guys, the coaches and the fans,” Rodriguez said. “There’s a little more offseason work on the rivalry than other games on the schedule. Being in the rivalry makes it personal.”
“I’ve been training in case they allow me to play,” Rodriguez joked.
Rodriguez has already set a personal record in recording seven wins in his first season, but a win over ASU will give the Arizona seniors their first home win over the Sun Devils.
“Last year, playing for the seniors there, the looks on their faces were unforgettable,” Carey said of Arizona’s victory in Tempe last season. “It’s a big game. You don’t have to do anything extra to energize you. It’s going to be one of the most memorable moments of your life playing in this game.”