The new bruiser
When a team has 52 rushing attempts during a game while only going to the air 19 times, that team better have a running back who can take a beating and grind out some tough yardage.
The coach also better have a lot of faith in his offensive line and running backs.
If that is the case, consider Trung Canidate a luxury to Dick Tomey.
Canidate rushed 27 times for 202 yards and a touchdown during the Wildcats 34-21 victory over UTEP.
Twenty-seven times might not be a lot for your normal running back, but from what the UA fans have seen of Canidate, he is not your normal running back.
A year ago, Canidate was averaging only 15.75 attempts per game and he still racked up 1,321 yards and 10 touchdowns. Of those touchdown runs, nine of them were for 37 yards or more including runs for 80, 66 and 48 yards against Arizona State, 75 yards against Washington State and 71 yards against Oregon.
On the flipside, this season Canidate is averaging over five more rushes per game at 20.9 attempts and has 866 yards with five touchdowns.
Those touchdown runs have been for yards of one, two, four, 11 and finally the big one he broke Saturday night for 60 yards.
So, the question remains: Is Trung Canidate a different runner this year than last?
Well, if you don't know, don't worry, because he doesn't exactly know either.
"Well, the thing is, that I am doing what this team needs. Every year is a different year and this team needs a different type of player out of everyone out there. When you are doing your job, you just have to do what the coaches ask you to do, and a little more," Canidate said following his performance Saturday night.
Without Kelvin Eafon available for those big bruising yards, Tomey had to tell his prize running back to get into the trenches. Freshman fullback Lance Briggs has shown potential to be an Eafon-type back, but he is a freshman and has a lot to learn.
The fans complain that Tomey runs the ball way too much, and maybe those complaints are warranted at times because he does have a lethal weapon in Dennis Northcutt to throw the ball to, but remember, he also has a proven All-American quality running back to hand the ball off to as well.
His attempts are up, his yardage will be as well come the end of the season and he may even have a few more bruises than normal, but Canidate understands that whether a touchdown run goes for 60 yards or one yard, it is still six points on the board, and in the end, that is all that matters in helping this team win ball games.