The Washington State Cougars had one of the worst running games in college football in 2012. Help may be on the way, however, for Mike Leach as former Arizona Wildcats running back Daniel Jenkins is transferring to the Palouse, and will be eligible to play in 2013.
The Cougars’ running game was horrendous last season, even for a Leach Air Raid offense. The team was led by senior Carl Winston with only 280 yards. Next up was true freshman Teondray Caldwell who rushed 56 times for just 269 yards. As a team, the Cougars rushed for less than 30 yards per game, which led directly to the team’s horrendous 20.4 points per game average.
While Leach doesn’t run an offense that features the running game all that often, there is still an opportunity for a running back to gain around 1,000 yards and make an impact out of the back field. During his time as head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, he had several such runners, like Baron Batch, Taurean Henderson and Shannon Woods.
Jenkins did not factor into the Arizona offense as much as he thought he would when sophomore Ka’Deem Carey broke out this season and led the nation in rushing this season. He finished the year with 1,929 yards and 23 touchdowns, leaving little work for anyone else in the Wildcat back field. Jenkins finished the year with only 67 carries for 293 yards and two touchdowns.
The minimal use left Jenkins feeling a bit put out, and he announced his intention to transfer after the Wildcats’ bowl win over the Nevada Wolfpack. As a graduate student, Jenkins will not have to sit out a year during his transfer, which will allow him to play immediately. He’ll find plenty of opportunity in the run-starved back field for the Cougars.
Look for Jenkins to get the bulk of the carries next season as Mike Leach tries to show a little bit more balance in 2013 to allow the Cougars offense to play a bit more consistently. The senior will try and make the most of his last year of eligibility out on the Palouse.