Razorbacks Football Report:

Hogs mix, match QBs with units

By: Bob Holt , Tom Murphy
Published: Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel looks to pass Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel looks to pass Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas Coach Chad Morris said the quarterback battle is moving along at the pace he expected through four days of camp.

“Yeah, I think we’re right on schedule,” Morris said as the lone team representative to talk to the media Tuesday. “I’m excited about watching all these guys compete. I think the scrimmage on Saturday will be big.”

Senior graduate transfer Ben Hicks has been seen with the top offensive unit during the media-viewing periods, just as he was throughout the spring.

Junior graduate transfer Nick Starkel has taken snaps with the second unit during the open periods, with John Stephen Jones, KJ Jefferson and Jack Lindsey behind him. However, Morris said the quarterbacks have bounced around with different groups in the team drills, which are split onto two fields.

“We’re going in and doing a lot of good situational work out here,” Morris said. “We’re putting the quarterbacks with different groups, so they don’t just stay with one group, the first group. They may be working with the second group or the third group to see how they move those guys around.

“I’ve been really pleased watching these guys compete. I think the ball jumps out of their hands. I’ve been very impressed with all of them, and their decision making is so much better than it was a year ago.”

D for 3

Chad Morris said the defense picked up three more takeaways in Tuesday’s practice No. 4 of camp and continued to be the pace-setter for the Razorbacks.

“Defensively right now, we’re playing at a speed which we haven’t since we’ve been here,” Morris said after Tuesday’s workout in shoulder pads and shorts. “That’s a credit to some depth that we have in our D-line.”

Morris also pointed out strong play in the secondary from safeties Kam Curl and Joe Foucha, and cornerback Montaric Brown.

“Those guys have really stepped up,” Morris said. “I’ve been really pleased with how well our defense has looked.

“Offensively, we’re not as consistent as we need to be, but we are much better. I want to credit a lot of that, hopefully it’s the fact of we’ve got a pretty stout defensive line that’s very disruptive. But we’re going to continue to push on each other and get better.”

Top plays

Freshman receiver Treylon Burks made one of the best plays of camp Tuesday with a one-handed catch that occurred in a part of practice after the media-viewing window.

“I saw Treylon Burks make a one-handed catch out here today that I don’t know if I’ve seen a kid make,” Coach Chad Morris said. “It was unbelievable.”

Morris also commented on Jalen Catalon’s pick-six return from Monday, on which defensive coordinator John “Chief” Chavis sprinted down the sideline to celebrate with the freshman.

“He did outrun Chief,” Morris said. “I don’t know if you saw the video, but he did outrun Chief.”

Chavis, responding on Twitter to a clip of the play, wrote that he slowed up so he didn’t beat Catalon to the end zone.

Bring the heat

The Razorbacks practiced in full sun with the temperature touching 90 degrees Tuesday after another hot day on Monday. It was overcast and in the 70s for the first two practices.

“It’s been beautiful,” offensive tackle Colton Jackson said Saturday. “Not having it be in the 90s has been nice.

“But we know the heat is coming. We’re ready for it. We worked in the heat all summer.”

The weather is expected to continue heating up this week, which center Ty Clary said will be beneficial.

“There’s a saying that everybody is an All-American when it’s cloudy and 72,” Clary said. “Which is kind of true. It’s a lot easier to work longer when it’s not as hot. But the heat is going to provide something that cool won’t. It’ll give us an edge over other teams.”

Personnel update

Freshman Taurean Carter is expected back in a couple of days after suffering a shoulder injury, Coach Chad Morris said.

Additionally, receiver Daulton Hyatt — who is transitioning from quarterback — suffered a strained hamstring and will miss a brief period of practice time.

Defensive end Eric Gregory and offensive lineman Luke Jones did not practice Tuesday.

“Most of those guys will be back … precautionary,” Morris said.

Drew Vest, a freshman offensive lineman from Searcy, has been added to the 110-man roster to take the spot of Noah Gatlin, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Friday.

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