Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year twice.
QB Storey says he feels 100 percent
Arkansas coach Chad Morris (left) talks with quarterback Ty Storey prior to a game against Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.
FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey said Tuesday was the best day he's had since he suffered a concussion after taking a fall at the end of a 10-yard run against Ole Miss two weeks ago.
"I just keep feeling better every day, and today's probably the best I've felt and I feel 100 percent normal," said Storey, who has been reinstated as the starter for Saturday's 11 a.m. game against Vanderbilt.
Storey said he felt well Saturday, though he didn't clear concussion protocol until Sunday.
"I wish I had felt like that earlier in the week," he said. "But it is what it is. That's the first head injury I've really had. It was definitely weird."
Storey said when he hit the turf on the fall against Ole Miss he "heard a bell, definitely," but his adrenaline was still pumping until "it just hit me all at once" on the sideline.
Freshman Connor Noland filled in as the starter for the 23-0 victory over Tulsa last week and completed 10 of 16 passes for 124 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
"For a freshman to step in like that and keep his composure and do that, it was pretty impressive to see that," Storey said.
Storey was cleared to practice without contact last week, which is now a recommended part of returning from a concussion, he said.
"They want you to get back as soon as possible to doing the normal activities," he said. "I guess that's the new, kind of how they treat that. Now they're saying that's what helps you bounce back quicker."
Offensive line starters Johnny Gibson and Colton Jackson were both in green, limited-contact jerseys at Tuesday's practice, as was Kirby Adcock.
Gibson (knee) and Jackson (back spasms) were both considered day to day for Saturday's game against Vanderbilt by Coach Chad Morris on Monday. Defensive tackle Armon Watts (quad), the team's sack leader with five, was also in green, though Morris projected he would be game ready.
Running backs Rakeem Boyd (dehydration) and Chase Hayden, whose grandmother passed away Tuesday, were both at practice at full speed. Those two and Maleek Williams comprise the top tailback ranks for Arkansas, with Devwah Whaley out for several games after ankle surgery and T.J. Hammonds redshirting after surgery.
Cornerbacks Jarques McClellion and Montaric Brown, who were both dinged up against Tulsa, were dressed in the white jerseys of the defense. Brown has been battling through a groin injury, and McClellion's issue -- after he came off in the final minute against Tulsa -- has not been discussed by Morris.
Receiver Jared Cornelius (ankle) was not in sight during the media viewing portion of Tuesday's work.
Linebacker Giovanni LaFrance, who wore a yellow, no-contact jersey and was withheld from practice last week, was back at it Tuesday.
Curl at 100
Sophomore safety Kamren Curl graded at 100 percent on assignments in Saturday's 23-0 victory over Tulsa.
Coach Chad Morris said Curl played his best game of the season.
"It wasn't like my best game stats wise," Curl said. "I didn't get much action in the game. But I feel like making the right checks and calls, it was. I graded out at 100 percent on the call sheet. So I guess that's why it was my best game."
Curl said he also got a 100 percent grade in the Hogs' 55-20 victory over Eastern Illinois.
Boyd at 99
Tailback Rakeem Boyd finished his day against Tulsa with 99 rushing yards early in the third quarter after cramping up in his quads and calves.
He took a streak of two consecutive 100-yard games -- 102 vs. Alabama and 109 vs. Ole Miss -- into the game.
Boyd was asked whether it was disappointing to fall a yard short of the milestone, which would have made him the first Arkansas back to surpass 100 yards in three consecutive games since Alex Collins in 2015.
"That was," Boyd said. "I've been thinking about it since. Man, 1 yard."
Vanderbilt Coach Derek Mason didn't sound convinced that Arkansas junior Ty Storey would be back as the starting quarterback Saturday after missing the victory over Tulsa with a concussion.
"I thought last week Connor Noland, the freshman, played well," Mason said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see him start in this ballgame. They've started three quarterbacks.
"They've been able to get production, and last week they got a win. So ... Ty Storey is talented, obviously. He's going through the idea of trying to get his turnover-to-touchdown ratio down. That's what this game's about. I think at the end of the day, Coach Morris is going to go with the guy that gives them the best chance of putting points on the board and not turning it over."
The MegaMillions drawing Tuesday night was estimated at $1.6 billion, which prompted some media questions to the Arkansas players in the interview room about what they'd do with a haul that big.
"I'd probably put it up and invest it, something like that, live off it until the NFL, probably," defensive end McTelvin Agim said.
"That's a lot of money," offensive tackle Dalton Wagner said. "I would give a lot of it to my mom and dad so they can retire and not have to worry about anything, and then I would go buy an island. An island or a country. One of the two. Just hang out there for a little."
The Arkansas-Vanderbilt game will feature the top two tacklers in the SEC in Vanderbilt linebacker Jordan Griffin and Arkansas linebacker De'Jon Harris.
Harris, who has 82 stops, was the top tackler for several weeks in a row heading into last week. However, Griffin posted 18 tackles -- 12 solos and 6 assists -- in Vanderbilt's 14-7 loss at Kentucky while Harris notched 5 in Arkansas' 23-0 victory over Tulsa. Griffin now has 86 tackles.
Arkansas and Vanderbilt will be the last SEC teams to have their bye week as each will play for the ninth consecutive week Saturday.
Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss all played on the first eight playing dates of the year and will be off this weekend. Alabama and LSU will resume action Nov. 3 against each other, while Auburn will host Texas A&M and Ole Miss will host South Carolina.
Arkansas and Vanderbilt will both have their open dates Nov. 3, with the Razorbacks hosting LSU when they resume Nov. 10 and the Commodores playing at Missouri.
Arkansas has a 30-42 record against SEC East teams since joining the SEC in 1992, including a 5-1 mark against Vanderbilt. The Razorbacks' last victory over an SEC East team came in a 31-10 upset of No. 11 Florida on Nov. 5, 2016. The SEC West enjoys a 6-3 edge in cross-division games this season.
Vanderbilt is the least penalized team in the SEC, and it ranks seventh in the nation in fewest penalty yards per game with an average of 38.9 yards.
Arkansas ranks third in the SEC in fewest penalty yards per game (51.6), trailing the Commodores and Tennessee (44.9).
Sports on 10/24/2018
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