Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Mitchell not part of plan
Receiver Brandon Mitchell isn’t part of Arkansas’ game plan for Saturday’s game against Tulsa, Coach John L Smith (right) said.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas Coach John L. Smith said receiver Brandon Mitchell, who missed last week’s game for an unspecified violation of team rules, was not part of the game planning for Saturday’s homecoming game against Tulsa.
“There comes a point where you get through Wednesday practice and if you haven’t used him - and which we couldn’t plan on him being here - so, no, we don’t anticipate that at all,” Smith said. “He’s not game ready, not game-planned, not a part of it.”
Arkansas officials have not discussed what team rule Mitchell violated or if he’ll be reinstated before the end of the season.
A Freedom of Information Act request made by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette last week asking for correspondence regarding football eligibility between the university and the SEC office or the NCAA did not turn up anything relating to Mitchell.
Kevin Trainor, associate athletic director for public relations, said through an e-mail that there were additional documents that would have fallen under the request parameters, but they are “exempt from disclosure because they constitute an ‘education record’ as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was named one of 15 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award Thursday.
Wilson, a fifth-year senior who has passed for 2,254 yards, is one of 10 players who are finalists for the second consecutive year. Stanford’s Andrew Luck won the award, which was established in 1987 by The Golden Arm Foundation and is given to college football’s top quarterback, last season.
Wilson’s four 350-yard passing games this season lead the SEC and rank second nationally. The senior from Greenwood’s average of 7.46 yards per play is the highest among active SEC players and trails only Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Wilson joins Alabama’s AJ McCarron and Georgia’s Aaron Murray among SEC players up for the award. The other finalists are Southern Cal’s Matt Barkley, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Baylor’s Nick Florence, North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Kansas State’s Collin Klein, Florida State’s E.J. Manuel, North Carolina’s Bryn Renner, Michigan’s Denard Robinson, West Virginia’s Geno Smith, Ohio’s Tyler Tettleton and Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas.
Coach John L. Smith said Thursday he thought defensive tackle D.D. Jones would be ready for Saturday’s game, while tailback Knile Davis (hamstring) will be held out.
“D.D.’s looking better,” Smith said. “He’s actually popping up off the ground when he goes down. ... So, yes, looking better and I anticipate playing him.”
True freshman Nate Holmes is expected to return to his role as the lead punt returner against Tulsa, a spot Keante Minor had held in recent weeks.
“We take them out and we kick them a number of balls daily, and who catches the best ... this week Nate’s been the best, so Nate’s going to be the guy back there,” Coach John L. Smith said.
Former Arkansas kicker Ish Ordonez has been chosen to serve as the A Club honorary captain for the Razorbacks on Saturday against Tulsa.
A three-year letter winner, Ordonez led the NCAA with 18 field goals in 1979 while earning All-Southwest Conference honors, and his 16 consecutive made field goals that year were an NCAA record at the time.
Ordonez finished his career 44 of 62 on field-goal attempts and ranks 10th in Arkansas history with 220 points. His 71 percent accuracy rate ranks No. 4 in school history. Arkansas won 26 games during his three-year career.
Sports, Pages 22 on 11/02/2012