By Patrick Klein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona head coach Dick Tomey was quite candid when addressing the running back situation his team faced heading into spring practice.
"I don't think we have a great back on this team," he said. "But great backs aren't born, they emerge."
With the graduation of Arizona career rushing leader Ontiwaun Carter, the Wildcats will be counting heavily on a pair of backs that did emerge briefy last season.
Gary Taylor, a 5-foot-11, 194-pound junior who shined against UCLA and Arizona State last year, while rushing for 307 total yards, and Kevin Schmidtke, a 5-foot-9, 188-pound sophomore who carried the Wildcats to victory at Georgia Tech, will be counted on to carry the rushing load for most of the season, while some promising recruits will certainly get a chance to play.
The fullback slot is loaded with experience. Charles Myles, a 240-pound sophomore is backed by Robert Coulter, Jason Patterson Ä who logged eight starts last year Ä and Joey Branch.
"Both Taylor and Schmidtke have demonstrated they can play at this level in key games," Tomey said. "Robert Colter was a major force in the ASU game, Myles became a major factor at the end of the year, and Patterson is finally healthy again."
With a totally new offensive line, the backs will be under added pressure to maintain a consistent contribution.
One of the new faces that will add depth to the Wildcats' running corps will be Leland Gayles, who earned Blue Chip Illustrated All-American honors as a defensive back out of Renton, Wash.
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