Life in Southern California endears one to flip-flops. In the world of college football, not so much.
FBS running back Daniel Jenkins met with media Monday to answer questions about his decision to leave Arizona, leave Washington State and return to Arizona.
A classic quote offered by Jenkins was captured by Antonia Gimino of Tucson Citizen.com.
“It was like I never left.” – ‘Cat RB Daniel Jenkins, May 20, 2013
In practical terms, Jenkins never did leave. A few weeks on the Palouse qualifies as change of pace, not a change of address.
A review of Jenkins’ presser can be summed up in simple terms. The guy used more words to say less…or as little as possible. Then again, when it comes down to it, Jenkins doesn’t have to explain or elaborate on his personal decisions leaving many interested followers shaking their heads.
Here are some elements to the drama which temporarily shifted the spotlight away from All-American candidate Ka’Deem Carey’s off-field troubles to the hopes of teammate, then former teammate, and once again teammate Daniel Jenkins. Jenkins earned his degree and graduated a semester early from Arizona last December. In January, he believed his best option for getting valuable playing time at a top college football program would be met by enrolling in a graduate program at Washington State. Jenkins spent time in Pullman talking with coaches, working out with WSU players and taking in the campus atmosphere. He did not enroll at WSU. He did not participate with the team in spring practice. He did experience one thing in Pullman which rarely happens in Tucson. Snow. Sleet. Heavy rain. Heck, odds are he witnessed all those weather conditions in one day!
Some folks have postulated Jenkins may have turned rogue, possibly visiting Pullman just long enough to be issued a playbook by WSU Coach Mike Leach. At that point the Arizona grad may have acted as a spy and offered to turn over the Washington State playbook contents to the coaching staff in Tucson. Great theory for water cooler discussions, but pretty far fetched. For that scenario to be plausible, Leach would have to have a playbook to issue. Sorry to say, that isn’t the case as Coach Leach doesn’t use a playbook these days.
That said, the concept of a playbook might actually be factored into Jenkins opting to use his final year of NCAA eligibility playing second team for the Wildcats.
Most Cougar football fans will wince when recalling the ragged offensive play by WSU last fall. A significant factor to the lack of an effective, efficient offense last season was the challenge players faced trying to learn a new system. Jenkins wasn’t even benefiting from participating in spring practice, gaining important reps which allow a player to understand the partially-implemented Air Raid offense. This is not to say the young man isn’t capable of learning a new offense in the few weeks of fall camp. But the odds are it would have been several games into the season before Jenkins blossomed.
It’s likely only family and those very close to Daniel Jenkins will ever know the real story behind his double transfer within a matter of months. One thing is certain, he won’t be part of the discussion when talking Cougar football.
One other certainty connected with this curious debacle associated with the running game for the Cougs in 2013. There are more questions about WSU implementing an effective rushing attack than there are answers.
For those who are patient, Coach Leach will reveal solutions toward the end of August.