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.
Arkansas Razorbacks report:
Smith irate at Williams after arrest
Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith was named SEC co-defensive lineman of the week with two pass breakups and two quarterback hurries in the Razorbacks’ 19-15 victory over Tulsa on Saturday.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg is doubtful, tailback Knile Davis is questionable and linebacker Terrell Williams is out for the Razorbacks 11 a.m. game at South Carolina on Saturday.
Arkansas Coach John L. Smith said Monday he was so upset about Williams’ early morning arrest and DWI charge that he didn’t even want to discuss it.
“If you have that little compassion, respect, love for your teammates, it’s hard for me to show compassion, love for you, if that makes sense,” Smith said. “So right now I don’t even want to talk to him, and we’ll decide [how long his suspension will last].”
Williams will not accompany the Razorbacks to South Carolina, Smith said.
Gragg re-injured an upper leg/knee bruise in the first half against Ole Miss and sat out the Tulsa game. Gragg has been healthy for what amounts to four out of nine games.
Smith said Davis’ hamstring would be evaluated for soreness after he runs today.
True freshman Otha Peters is expected to start at middle linebacker for the Razorbacks against South Carolina, joining classmate A.J. Turnerin the young linebacking corps.
Peters would be the fourth starter in the middle this year, joining senior captains Tenarius Wright and Alonzo Highsmith, who are out for the season with injuries, and Terrell Williams, who is serving an indefinite suspension.
“Otha’s going to be fine,” Arkansas Coach John L. Smith said. “He’s going to be a good football player down the road.”
John L. Smith said he had no news on the status of receiver Brandon Mitchell, who has missed the past two games while the university evaluates his eligibility for an off-the field issue.
Smith held up both hands with his fingers crossed when asked if he anticipated a resolution to Mitchell’s status this week.
Mitchell has not played since returning from his weekend trip home to south Louisiana during Arkansas’ open week.
“I don’t want to comment anymore on him,” Smith said, when asked if Mitchell was facing a compliance issue. “We’ll just wait and see. We’ll let you know.” Smith wins
Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith was named the SEC’s co-defensive lineman of the week for his work in the Hogs’ 19-15 victory over Tulsa on Saturday. Smith, a junior from Mount Ulla, N.C., shared the honor with Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd.
Smith accounted for two pass breakups at the line and two quarterback hurries, and he made the biggest defensive play of the game when he sacked Tulsa’s Cody Green and forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Byran Jones on the Hurricane’s final possession.
Smith also had a team high eight tackles and 1 1/2 tackles for loss.
“I’m blessed to win that again,” Smith said, “especially with D-ends like [South Carolina’s Jadeveon] Clowney and [LSU’s Sam] Montgomery. You know it’s an honor. ... I’m just trying to put on another performance this week.”
For the first time in three seasons, only one team will be ranked when Arkansas takes on South Carolina on Saturday.
The No. 8 Razorbacks beat the No. 10 Gamecocks 44-28 in Fayetteville last season, and No. 17 Arkansas beat No. 18 South Carolina 41-20 in Columbia, S.C. in 2010.
Only South Carolina, which is No. 8 in the BCS rankings, is in the polls for this meeting. Arkansas, which peaked at No. 8 in The Associated Press poll after the opener, fell out for good while opening 1-4.
“Sometimes in sports it just goes bad early and you don’t understand quite why,” South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier said.
“Sometimes that ball bounces funny.”
Arkansas’ road game at Mississippi State on Nov.
17 has been selected by the SEC Network for its 11:21 a.m. Central time slot.
The prenoon kickoff will be the fourth in a row for the Razorbacks and their sixth in seven games, with only a 49-7 victory over Kentucky, which began at 6 p.m., breaking the streak.
SATURDAY’S GAMES All times Central Arkansas at South Carolina, 11 a.m.
Missouri at Tennessee, 11:21 a.m.
La.-Lafayette at Florida, 11:21 a.m.
Texas A&M at Alabama, 2:30 p.m.
Mississippi State at LSU, 6 p.m.
Georgia at Auburn, 6 p.m.
Vanderbilt at Mississippi, 6 p.m.
Sports, Pages 18 on 11/06/2012