Morris updates injuries, absences; defense wins Day 11

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Arkansas tight end Cheyenne O'Grady warms up Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville. Visit nwad.com/photos to see more photographs from the practice.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas tight end Cheyenne O'Grady warms up Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville. Visit nwad.com/photos to see more photographs from the practice.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Chad Morris spent the first several minutes of his Wednesday press conference addressing a long list of injuries and practice absences from Day 11 of preseason drills.

An update on senior tight end Cheyenne O'Grady came first. O'Grady, who posted a cryptic message on his Twitter account late Tuesday that read, "Story might be over sooner than I thought," should return from a knee sprain in a couple of weeks.

O'Grady, since working with the third-team offense and being challenged by Morris last week, has responded in a manner that pleased the coaching staff. His injury occurred Tuesday when his legs became tangled with another player in a 1-on-1 situation.

"He’ll be back, he’ll be ready to go. He’ll be better than ever," Morris said.

Offensive linemen Colton Jackson and Austin Capps, projected starters at left tackle and left guard, respectively, also missed Wednesday's practice. Coaches opted to place Jackson, who is dealing with a foot injury, in a yellow jersey, which constitutes zero on-field activity.

Capps' injury is a knee sprain as well, Morris said, and the senior from Star City, Ark., "should be back by the first game" against Portland State on Aug. 31.

As a result, Myron Cunningham, Kirby Adcock and Dalton Wagner all worked at left tackle. Adcock received reps at first-team right tackle, too, according to Morris.

At receiver, sophomore Koilan Jackson, who missed his first practice of the preseason on Wednesday, will be out 2 1/2 weeks, according to a post on his Twitter account, with a knee injury. The knee ailing Jackson is the same one he injured (ACL) in fall camp in 2017.

"We opted to go ahead and do all three (O'Grady, Capps, Koilan Jackson) of these (clean-up operations) now to keep them from lingering," Morris said.

A concussion has also sidelined running back T.J. Hammonds for the first three days of Week 2, but Morris expects the redshirt junior to return soon. A'Montae Spivey, a freshman tailback from Phenix City, Ala., also wore a green jersey during the open portion of Wednesday's practice. He exited the field early on with some discomfort and was later seen inside Walker Pavilion on a stationary bike.

On Tuesday, three key defensive backs - Kamren Curl, Jarques McClellion, Greg Brooks - saw their workload limited. Curl donned a green no-contact jersey Tuesday, but wore the standard white on Wednesday. McClellion and Brooks, who hyperextended his left thumb in Saturday's scrimmage, remained in green.

Morris added that McClellion, expected to start at cornerback, is doing well and even came up with a takeaway late in Day 11.

"He had an interception right here in the two-minute drill today," he said. "A lot of it is precautionary and making sure they understand that when you’re in a green jersey you’re not hitting and nobody’s hitting you. He’s getting some good work in."

Defensive back Britto Tutt, who has battled numerous knee problems throughout his career, was scaled back on Wednesday as well.

Aside from injuries, the Razorbacks' defense won the day by creating three turnovers. Arkansas' offense had won the team's championship belt the previous two days, but miscues by quarterbacks Ben Hicks, Nick Starkel and John Stephen Jones set the unit back.

"I thought we looked as good offensively yesterday in some of the red zone and protecting the football as we've looked since we've been here," Morris said. "Today was a little bit different. Two (turnovers) were in big moments. It was great competition. That's what we want.

"Bottom line, turn the ball over and you're not going to win too many football games. Create turnovers and you win a lot of football games."

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