FOOTBALL

Arizona football: Little-used Butler has day in sun

2012-03-27T00:00:00Z 2012-03-27T09:40:23Z Arizona football: Little-used Butler has day in sunRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 27, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Center Kyle Quinn was praising Arizona's running backs following Saturday's scrimmage when he was reminded of one player he left off.

"There are so many running backs that I almost forgot about 'KB,'" Quinn said. "He deserves some credit, too."

Kylan Butler rushed nine times for 29 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 17 yards and a score during Saturday's scrimmage at Glendale Community College. It was a breakout performance for a player who has just nine career carries.

Butler spent the last three years stuck behind a slew of accomplished backs, from Nicolas Grigsby and Keola Antolin to Ka'Deem Carey and Daniel Jenkins.

He appeared in one game as a redshirt freshman in 2010, rushing three times for 14 yards in a win over The Citadel. Butler played in nine of Arizona's 12 games a year ago, but mostly on special teams: Coaches rewarded him with six second-half carries in an Oct. 20 blowout win over UCLA. He gained 29 yards, 12 of them coming on one run.

Butler, a former star at powerhouse Concord (Calif.) De La Salle High School, figures to contend for playing time this fall. Though the Wildcats' backfield remains as crowded as ever - Carey and Jenkins figure to get most of the touches - there should be room for a third back. Arizona figures to run the ball more than 50 percent of the time in coach Rich Rodriguez's spread-option attack.

Tackle void

With projected starters Mickey Baucus (back surgery) and Fabbians Ebbele (suspension) out for Saturday's scrimmage, the Wildcats turned to a pair of newbies at offensive tackle.

The reviews were mixed.

Jacob Arzouman and Lene Maiava overachieved, Quinn said, even though Arzouman - a Salpointe Catholic graduate playing left tackle - was called for a hold that negated a long touchdown pass.

"We're rolling a lot of guys in there right now, and they stepped up big-time," Quinn said. "Arzouman did a great job. Lene, he had his best day of the spring … . You've got to make the most of your opportunities, and they're surely taking advantage of that right now."

Asked about the Wildcats' offensive line, however, Rodriguez responded with a grunt.

"Eh," he said. "They were all right."

About that scrimmage

Arizona's coaches spent Saturday night and Sunday watching film. They were disturbed enough by what they saw to hold a come-to-Jesus meeting with the players.

Rodriguez canceled Monday's scheduled practice in favor of an exhaustive film session.

The coach's first impression of the scrimmage?

"There were some execution issues, I think, on both sides of the ball," he said. "I think probably their legs are a little heavy. We're not running full-speed and I'm going to attribute that to us not being in shape.

"They're trying. We're slowly making steps. We've just got a long way to go, and I think everybody realizes that."

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