HANSEN

Greg Hansen: Silence speaks volumes about program

Media curtain around Carey proves RichRod is one pulling the cords
2013-08-16T00:00:00Z Greg Hansen: Silence speaks volumes about programGreg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

At exactly 6:11 p.m. Wednesday, Ka'Deem Carey came out from behind RichRod's iron media curtain.

On a premium, drive-time commercial on Channel 4, the driving force behind Arizona's 2013 football ambitions appeared with four teammates, part of the school's "Make a Statement" marketing pitch.

Carey was limited to three words: "Change the game."

How appropriate. That brief, taped message all but assures that Arizona's lone game-changer has completed coach Rich Rodriguez's disciplinary program, essentially clearing him to become the physical face of the '13 Wildcats.

Those three words - "change the game" - are the only public comments RichRod has allowed Carey to utter since December. Since being charged with disorderly conduct and assault - the Tucson Prosecutor's Office dropped those charges in June - and compounding it with a code of conduct violation at McKale Center a month later, Carey has been unavailable for interviews.

Talk about an awkward silence.

Carey's only known public contact was a June 18 twitter message that said "ESPN got me No. 1."

Other than Johnny Manziel, no celebrated college football player, and certainly no consensus All-American, had a more difficult off-season. Carey spent seven months under RichRod's thumb, a zero tolerance curriculum to match any I've ever seen in the UA athletic department.

RichRod's earnestness and disciplinary code became such that the school passed on any chance to use the NCAA's leading rusher as the centerpiece of a ticket-selling campaign. It proves, if nothing else, Arizona football isn't about one guy, not even a guy who ran for 1,929 yards and set a Pac-12 record for single-game rushing yards.

There was no wrist-slapping for sure.

How many gassers Carey ran, or how many early-morning counseling sessions he attended, is anyone's guess. My guess? Too many to count.

USC, by comparison, put All-America receiver Marqise Lee on the cover of of its media guide. It is now selling for $14.99 on eBay.

Arizona State's media guide includes a mammoth cover image of All-America lineman Will Sutton. The Sun Devils are celebrating their best player and spinning ticket sales off of his prowess.

Arizona made Carey invisible.

How invisible? The UA decided to put 17 players on the cover of its football media guide, including seldom-used seniors Kylan Butler, Brendan Murphy and Brian Chacon, a long-snapper.

That has to be an NCAA first.

The only other all-conference-type player submerged in off-season personnel troubles was Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He pleaded guilty to a drunken-driving charge, spent a night in jail and was briefly suspended.

The UW activated Seferian-Jenkins this month and made him available for interviews. On Aug. 6, he told reporters "I wish I could take it back, but I can't."

That's the cue for Carey.

If RichRod allows Carey to speak at Sunday's media day process, that's about all he would need to say. He deserves a second chance; it's unlikely anyone inside the UA football program will say Carey got off easy.

RichRod can surely say, as Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said early this month about Seferian-Jenkins "I go to sleep at night feeling good about what we're doing."

"Ka'Deem's been keeping focused; he's doing all we asked," RichRod said Monday. When asked about Carey's availability in the opener against NAU, the coach said, "I'm not going to declare it for two more weeks."

Carey has paid a significant price for his behavior. In the current Sports Illustrated College Football issue, he doesn't get a mention - not even two words - in a Heisman size-up that includes players from Kent State, Utah State and Fresno State.

Nor, as the fourth returning consensus All-American in Arizona history - joining linebacker Ricky Hunley, 1983; tackle Rob Waldrop, 1993; and defensive end Tedy Bruschi, 1995 - is Carey looked upon as a community beacon or symbol of the program.

Hunley, for example, was so well-liked in 1982, as a junior, that Arizona pictured him full-sized on the cover of its media guide and didn't even identify him with small type.

It was as if to say, Ricky Hunley, Arizona football. Period. Carey is still working on the punctuation.

A few weeks before Arizona opened its 2002 football camp, star receiver Bobby Wade was arrested by Scottsdale police on two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct stemming from a 2 a.m. brawl in the parking lot of a bar. Wade was also found to have a loaded gun in his car.

The UA suspended planned print advertisements that featured Wade in its 2002 marketing campaign but chose neither to suspend nor bar Wade from speaking at team media sessions.

In the opener, against NAU, Wade caught eight passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. He went on to break the school record with 93 receptions that season.

But the discipline-lacking team fractured; the Wildcats went 4-8 and had a midseason mutiny against coach John Mackovic.

This has got to be a better way to run a football team. Rodriguez is in charge, and no one knows that more than his franchise player.

Contact Greg Hansen at 573-4362 or ghansen@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @ghansen711

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 8 4 0 0.667
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 9 4 0 0.692
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 12 1 0 0.923
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 7 5 0 0.583
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 5 0 0.615
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
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