Dre Greenlaw productive in return

By: Jimmy Carter
Published: Monday, August 14, 2017
Arkansas linebacker Dre Greenlaw practices on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, at Charlotte Latin High School in Charlotte, N.C.
Photo by Jason Ivester
Arkansas linebacker Dre Greenlaw practices on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, at Charlotte Latin High School in Charlotte, N.C.

— Dre Greenlaw only played 16 snaps in Arkansas’ scrimmage Saturday, but the junior linebacker still managed to be his usual productive self in his first game-like setting since breaking his foot in the Belk Bowl.

Greenlaw recorded 4 or 5 tackles in his limited action early in the scrimmage, an encouraging step for one of the defense’s top playmakers after he’d been limited most of fall camp.

“It was a little rust, not much,” Greenlaw said. “I felt in-tune to it for the most part. I knew what I was doing just about. Think I graded out a little over 80 percent.”

Greenlaw missed spring practice after breaking his foot for the second time in a three-month span, but said the injury is completely healed. An injured thigh has limited him in camp, prompting the coaching and training staffs to take precautions in order to ensure his health when the Aug. 31 season opener against Florida A&M rolls around.

“My first practice really just getting into it was the day before the scrimmage,” Greenlaw said. “It felt good after that. A little soreness, but coach and (trainer) Matt (Summers) do a good job pacing it but not pushing it too much.”

In Greenlaw’s absence, redshirt freshman walk-on Grant Morgan has worked next to sophomore Scoota Harris on the starting defense. Saturday marked the first time Greenlaw and Harris worked alongside each other in a scrimmage or game setting.

“We were out there flying around and making plays,” Harris said.

Even with Greenlaw's production, his teammates could tell he was still working his way back.

“I don’t know if he’s 100 percent, but I know he’s going out there and giving everything he has every single day,” senior defensive back Kevin Richardson said. “He’s moving around. He knows the defense. He’s getting reps on the sideline even though he’s not out there with us. He’s paying attention to every little thing.

“He’s sitting in on the meetings with everybody, so I feel like he’s going to pick up exactly where he left off. I don’t feel like he’s going to miss a beat.”

Arkansas needs that to be the case.

The defense struggled at times without Greenlaw and Harris when they sat out the second half of Saturday’s scrimmage. That duo will have to gel quickly.

Greenlaw played with Brooks Ellis for a year-and-a-half and Harris played some next to Ellis after Greenlaw’s injury, but the pair is still developing chemistry.

“Today, we had a play where we had to switch guys and make changes, but we talked it over before the play and I feel like the more we do that and the more we’re on the field together, the more comfortable we’ll get,” Greenlaw said.

When healthy, Greenlaw has proven he can make plays in the SEC.

As a freshman, his 95 tackles were second on the team. Last year, he led the team in tackles before the first break happened early in the Alabama game.

The Razorbacks expect similar production from him this year at a position designed to make plays. He may not be given a big workload the remainder of camp as he and the staff eye getting him fully healthy for the opener.

“I’ll be ready,” Greenlaw said. “More than ready.”

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