One runs around people, the other runs through them.
Arizona used to have that all in one, with that Ka’Deem Carey fella.
If you didn’t know, Carey is gone, off to the pros. In his stead, at least for the spring, is Pierre Cormier, the fast one; and Zach Green, the strong one.
The strong one, Green, is 5 feet 10, 220 pounds. Or, the same height as Carey, just 13 pounds heavier. And he loves breaking tackles.
“It’s my favorite thing to do,” said Green, who ran for 1,900 yards and 30 touchdowns in his senior year of high school in Ventura, Calif. “Arm tackles, I love breaking arm tackles.”
The fast one, Cormier, is 5-10, 183. Or, the same height as Carey, just 24 pounds lighter. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, and he likes to make guys miss.
“I’m a shifty runner,” said Cormier, who ran for 2,233 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior at San Diego’s Madison High School. “I’ll lower my shoulder if I have to, I make guys miss, get into open space, do those type of things. I just let the game come natural to me after I get the ball.”
If Calvin Magee, the UA running backs coach, had his way, it wouldn’t be so cut and dry. He might not be able to combine Green’s strength and Cormier’s speed to make Ka’Deem reincarnate. But, he would like that speed to be strong, and that strength to be fast.
“One’s a power guy, the other’s more of an elusive guy,” Magee said. “But I always want the power guy to be elusive, and the elusive guy to run with some power. So that’s what my job is now, to blend that in and get them to do that.”
Carey was strong, and Carey was elusive. He was an All-American, and Arizona’s all-time leading rusher. He set the bar pretty high. Like, all the way up into the stratosphere.
But Cormier, or Green, or any of the running backs joining in the fall that will compete for the starting job, won’t try to replicate him.
“I’m not trying to be Ka’Deem,” said Cormier, a four-star recruit coming out of high school, according to Scout.com. “I’m trying to be the best player I can, and if that’s better than what he did or worse than what he did, I’m fine with that, as long as it’s the best I can do.”
Last year, both Cormier and Green had prime seats, watching Carey from the sidelines, in practice, in meetings and in the film room, as redshirt freshman.
Green, like a sponge, absorbed all he could.
“He’s one of the best backs in the country,” said Green, a former three-star recruit.
“So you watch him, and what he does on every play, and try to mimic what he does on the field. I just try to take bits and pieces out of what he does and put it in the way I play.
“But,” he added, “Pierre and I are different running backs. We bring different styles of running to this offense.”
And they aren’t the only running backs, either. But, they have an edge, already being in camp. In the fall, Nick Wilson — a four-star recruit — and Jared Baker, a junior recovering from an ACL injury, will join the fray.
For now, though, Green and Cormier are getting the looks.
“You’ve got two freshmen that really didn’t get a bunch of reps last year, and they’re improving,” Magee said. “We want to see their improvement accelerate, but they’re working at it.”
If Magee had his way, Green would improve his acceleration, and Cormier would accelerate his strength.
“He gets on us,” Green said, laughing. “In the meetings, he’s like ‘Pierre, you need to break more tackles. Zach you need to run a 4.2.’
“But, it’s all for love,” he added. “He’s our dad off the field. He knows what’s best for us. So I’m going to take that in, and in the spring I’m gonna show him that I belong.”