Tom Murphy is a sports 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. He was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Razorbacks plan return to natural grass field
A turf field is shown at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The field, installed in 2009, will be replaced prior to the 2019 season.
The Arkansas Razorbacks will return to natural grass in 2019 after playing a 10th year on their current artificial turf surface at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Razorbacks Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek said in Hoover, Ala., the decision has been made to install real grass when the 2018 season comes to an end.
The life cycle of artificial turf such as the PowerBlade 2.5 installed at Razorback Stadium for the 2009 season at the behest of then-Coach Bobby Petrino is typically 10 years. The turf project cost roughly $1.1 million upon installation.
The surface at the stadium was natural grass through the 2008 season.
First-year Coach Chad Morris expressed a preference for grass over turf early this spring.
"Let me say my preference is I love natural grass," Morris said on March 3. "That's just me. Maybe that's just the high school coach in me.
"Worrying about what the next surface out here looks like is irrelevant to me. I just want to get through a practice and get better today. But I prefer, I'm a natural grass type of guy. I love being on a grass field. There's nothing better than that in college football, or football period."
The announcement of a move to natural grass had been expected.
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