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.
Razorbacks football report:
Cowan sits out of drills
Arkansas receiver D'Arthur Cowan watches warmups prior to the Razorbacks' Red-White game on April 20, 2013 in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas receiver D’Arthur Cowan is not going through spring football drills so he can focus on academics, Coach Bret Bielema said Friday.
The Razorbacks finished their first three days of spring work Thursday, and Cowan was one of a few key players not in attendance at the first workout available for members of the media to view.
“D’Arthur is going to take the rest of the spring to concentrate on his studies,” Bielema said. “He had put himself in a situation that I felt if we didn’t give him some time purely away from the practice element that he wouldn’t get to where he needed to be academically.”
Bielema said he planned for Cowan to remain on campus during spring break next week to keep forging ahead on academics.
Senior safety Alan Turner, a projected second-year starter, has missed the past two workouts because of class conflicts.
Bielema said Turner has worked with his professor to set up a schedule that should allow him to make the 4:25 p.m. school-day practices for the rest of spring.
Tight end Demetrius Dean of Fayetteville has not been with the football program since the semester started and isn’t expected to return, Bret Bielema said.
“He’s below 12 hours and … by NCAA rule you’ve got to be above 12 hours,” Bielema said. “He hasn’t been with us since January.”
Kody Walker went through his first full-pad workout as a fullback Thursday, and it added a degree of difficulty to his workload.
“He was involved in oneon-one contact with a youngman named Trey Flowers, and I don’t know if I’d want that to be my first day on the job,” Bret Bielema said about Walker taking on the senior defensive end.
A handful of Arkansas players are wearing an experimental helmet that disperses impacts over the surface of the helmet.
“Player safety is the No. 1 issue with me,” Bret Bielema said. “It’s not a slogan. It’s the way I think.”
Bielema said the helmets secure more tightly, are less likely to be knocked off and could reduce the possibility of concussions.
“Anything player-safety driven, we’ve volunteered to do,” he said.
Sports, Pages 26 on 03/22/2014