The Arizona Wildcats rushing attack was nonexistent throughout the first month of the season. The team has placed an emphasis on improving their production on the ground in recent weeks and it finally paid off against the UCLA Bruins, a game UA won 48-12.
It's no coincidence the team started to play better once it stopped relying on Nick Foles as the only source of offense and they will look to run the ball effectively this week against the Washington Huskies. Arizona enters the game as slight underdogs, but everyone saw just how good this team could be last Thursday night as they dismantled UCLA.
Simply put, the Wildcats have the talent and ability to win most of the games remaining on their schedule. Playing a complete game for all four quarters -- something that has been done twice this year by UA -- is imperative for this to happen. That includes the running game.
One of the reasons Arizona has seen their running game improve is the usage of the "full-house" formation. If one has not seen the formation, Nick Foles lines up a few feet behind the center and is flanked by two tailbacks and full back Taimi Tutogi. Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen spoke with running backs coach Garret Chachere about the new formation and why it has been successful:
"What it does, it just gives us versatility," running backs coach Chachere told us last month.
"It balances up the offense, which balances up the defense. We're even. We can go to the right, we can go to the left, we can go up the middle. ... Because you're balanced, the defense has to balance up and play basic. It allows you to do a bunch of things."
The Huskies are a good team and a road win will be tough for the Wildcats to come away with, especially with the suspensions to Shaq Richardson and other members of the secondary. This being said, UW has shown flaws this year and just got torched by Stanford.
A win would be huge for Arizona and that starts with running the ball effectively. That means a strong performance from Keola Antolin, KaDeem Carey, Daniel Jenkins and Tutogi. It's time to step up, gentlemen.