Razorbacks report:

Pulley's status up to Hogs

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Arkansas vs Ole Miss Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas vs Ole Miss Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas Coach Chad Morris indicated cornerback Ryan Pulley could be subject to further disciplinary action after his ejection in the last minute of Saturday's 37-33 loss to Ole Miss.

Pulley was ejected after Ole Miss intercepted a pass from Cole Kelley and the teams were lining up for the Rebels to take a knee on the final snap of the game.

"I thought there were some things that we did that were not what we're about, and I was disappointed," Morris said. "But I think that was an intense game."

The SEC office on Sunday replied to a request from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for clarification on Pulley's status. SEC director of communications Chuck Dunlap wrote, "He was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct. By rule this has no mandatory carryover to the next game."

However, at his Monday news conference, Morris said SEC supervisor of officials Steve Shaw reviews all personal fouls and ejections, and he was waiting to hear further clarification about the incident from Shaw.

Later Monday, UA officials confirmed Pulley was not subject to further action from the SEC, and that anything beyond missing the final 29 seconds of Saturday's game would be handled in house.

Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis, asked who would start if Pulley does not, replied "Buster Brown," using the nickname for redshirt freshman Montaric Brown.

"He has played, and guys have been in the rotation and feel very comfortable," Chavis said. "Coach will address that, but you asked me if he didn't [start]. That's hypothetical, but it will be Buster Brown. Next guy up."

Morris said Brown "will get in there and see significant reps."

Pulley had a third-down pass breakup and an interception that stopped Ole Miss drives in the first quarter Saturday, helping Arkansas race to a 17-3 lead.

Morris praised redshirt freshman cornerback Jarques McClellion's work.

"I thought Jarques played his best ballgame last week," Morris said. "He's getting better."

Who's QB2?

The ESPN team of Tom Hart and Jordan Rodgers indicated on the broadcast that freshman Connor Noland had been taking more of the second-team quarterback reps behind Ty Storey in practice last week when sophomore Cole Kelley replaced the injured Storey for the first time in the second quarter.

"Yeah, I'm not sure where they got that, but they've been splitting reps," offensive coordinator Joe Craddock said, referencing Kelley and Noland, who has not played since the Week 3 loss to North Texas. "Connor has really understood the offense a little bit more than he has since we started. He's learning and getting more comfortable, and I think that may be why he's been doing a little bit better during practice."

Coach Chad Morris said of the second-team reps, "How we do it is we mix it up. Obviously they've both been taking a lot of No. 2 reps, and we switch it in and out. You've watched us the way we practice and the way we do our second rack of plays. We'll let one guy get one series and one guy get the next series.

"[Noland] hasn't been taking the majority of them. I mean, he's been taking a lot of them, but he hasn't been taking the majority of them."

Storey took a few hard shots, including a helmet-to-helmet targeting penalty from defensive back Vernon Dasher, in Saturday's loss to Ole Miss. Storey came out in the fourth quarter after being upended at the end of a 10-yard run by Zedrick Woods and taking a hard fall to the turf.

The redshirt junior from Charleston got up, then slumped back to the turf. He later tried to get back into the game but had his helmet taken away from him, a clear indication he was in concussion protocol.

Morris said freshman quarterbacks Noland, John Stephen Jones and redshirt Daulton Hyatt could all be in the mix with Kelley if Storey is unable to start Saturday.

Turf talk

After the Razorbacks and Ole Miss suffered several injuries that dealt with impact to the ground -- including Rakeem Boyd's tailbone shot, Ty Storey's concussion, and a neck injury to Ole Miss receiver D.K. Metcalf, who was ruled out for the year on Monday -- Arkansas Coach Chad Morris was asked whether he thought the turf at War Memorial Stadium could have played a role.

"No, I don't think that at all," Morris said. "I think that's just part of football. I mean, really it is. I think that it was a physical football game, all across the board."

The ESPN crew of Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers and Cole Cubelic had a discussion about the age and quality of the turf during Saturday's broadcast, with Rodgers saying it had shorter fibers and was harder than most artificial turf.

A feasibility study on the future of games at War Memorial Stadium commissioned by the state Parks and Tourism Department, which oversees the stadium, and a UA study presented to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and members of the board of trustees in November both concluded that replacing the turf was a high priority.

The Field Turf is scheduled to be replaced in 2019, which would give the Razorbacks two new playing surfaces. The turf at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, installed for the 2009 season, will give way to natural grass next fall.

Tube talk

Arkansas' home game against Vanderbilt on Oct. 27 was selected for an 11 a.m. kickoff, the SEC office announced Monday.

The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network. The Razorbacks will be playing their fourth 11 a.m. game in five weeks, including Saturday's homecoming contest against Tulsa.

Four backs

The Razorbacks had five quarterbacks and four running backs on the 70-man travel roster for Saturday's game, as Coach Chad Morris had indicated would be the plan earlier this season.

However, after tailbacks Rakeem Boyd and Devwah Whaley were injured and out of the game, the Razorbacks were down to their last healthy back with Chase Hayden in the game.

Morris and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock said T.J. Hammonds, whose left foot was heavily wrapped, had rolled an ankle leading into the game.

Redshirt freshman Maleek Williams was not on the travel roster, but his role could pick up now with Whaley out after ankle surgery.

"Just the overall knowledge of the offense," Morris said when asked where Williams needs to improve. "The pass protection more than anything. In this offense, the running backs have to pass protect.

"It's not that it's overly complicated, but it requires you to be on your game. Maleek's done a good job. He's gotten better. He just needs to continue progressing and getting better."

Birthday boy

Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis celebrates a birthday today. The veteran SEC coordinator, a native of Dillon, S.C., will turn 62.

Sports on 10/16/2018

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