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.
Davis encourages in practice
Knile Davis might return Saturday after missing two games with a hamstring injury.
FAYETTEVILLE Tailback Knile Davis’ hamstring has improved to the point he might be ready to play Saturday against Mississippi State.
“He looked a lot better today than when he tried to get out there last week,” offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said.
Tight end Chris Gragg (knee bruise) went through stretching with the Razorbacks on Tuesday, but then broke off into rehab work. He appears doubtful for Saturday.
Arkansas linebacker Terrell Williams wore a black scout team No. 50 jersey to simulate Mississippi State’s Bernardrick McKinney in Tuesday’s practice. That would seem to indicate Williams will spend another week on suspension for his DWI arrest two weeks ago, though no announcement has been made.
Broyles statue to be unveiled
The University of Arkansas will publicly dedicate a statue of Frank Broyles, the school’s former football coach and athletic director, at 10 a.m. Nov. 23, the day the Razorbacks take on LSU in their regular-season finale.
The unveiling of the first statue outside an athletic venue on the Arkansas campus will take place at the front entrance of the Broyles Athletic Center.
Broyles led the Razorbacks to their only football national championship in 1964 and went on to serve 50 years as coach and athletic director.
Broyles, who will turn 88 on Dec. 26, holds the title of athletic director emeritus.
“We want to invite Razorback fans to join us for this special ceremony as we honor the legacy of Coach Frank Broyles,” Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said in a UA release.
“For more than 50 years, Coach Broyles made numerous significant contributions as a coach and as an athletic administrator.
It is fitting that soon a statue in front of the Broyles Athletic Center will further serve as a permanent tribute to the immeasurable impact Coach Broyles has had on the Razorback program, our university, our state and the world of intercollegiate athletics.”
Broyles, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, was Arkansas’ football coach in 1958-1976, finishing with a record of 144-58-5, and the school’s athletic director in 1974-2007.
J says hey
Former Arkansas receiver Jarius Wright, who caught three passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut for Minnesota last week, visited the Hogs’ practice Tuesday with the Vikings on a bye week.
“We’re close buddies,” said Cobi Hamilton, who has conversed with Wright while breaking his records for single-season catches (73) and receiving yards (1,149) in the past two weeks. “I’ll see him later on. But I told him good job. I know he’s got a lot more plays ahead of him and hopefully I’ve got a lot more plays ahead of me. It’s been a good deal for him to come see us.”
On the line
Asked about the illegal formation penalty against Cobi Hamilton that wiped out Hamilton’s 40-yard reception on Arkansas’ first drive last week against South Carolina, Arkansas Coach John L. Smith said that the Razorbacks have no more of those penalties this season than in past years.
“Two of them are big,” he said, referring to Hamilton’s against South Carolina and one that negated a 15-yard touchdown pass to Austin Tate against Ole Miss. “And the one that got called that we all are remembering that cost you a football game was not illegal. Now the one we got called on this last week ... it was.”
Smith said sideline personnel were yelling to Hamilton to adjust his stance, but the senior didn’t hear them while the line judge did. Smith, while suggesting that some officials should provide leeway on alignment issues, finally said, “It’s better I don’t talk about officials a lot, OK? That might be enough.”Run down
Mississippi State averaged 181 rushing yards per game during its 7-0 start, but its run game has been struggling during a three-game losing streak.
The Bulldogs have averaged 64 rushing yards during consecutive losses to Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU.
Mississippi State managed just 47 yards on the ground against both Alabama and LSU, and its rank among FBS teams has fallen from 47th to 76th in the past three weeks.
Colder temperatures in Northwest Arkansas have spurred the growth of beards for the Razorbacks.
Tight end Austin Tate appears to have the lead for bushiest beard at this stage, though D.D. Jones and Colton Miles-Nash also have thick ones coming in. Among the many other players growing beards are Knile Davis, Alvin Bailey, Terrell Williams, Ronnie Wingo, Brey Cook and Morgan Linton.
Sports, Pages 25 on 11/14/2012