Tom Murphy is a 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. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Veterans take up teaching
Arkansas defensive lineman McTelvin Agim goes through practice Thursday, March 9, 2019, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Tackle McTelvin Agim and linebacker De'Jon Harris -- both mainstays on the University of Arkansas defense -- had limited snaps in Saturday's 175-play scrimmage on the practice fields outside Walker Pavilion.
"We know what these guys can do," Coach Chad Morris said. "When they were in there, they were both very disruptive and active. Then they got an opportunity to start coaching some of those young guys on the sidelines. That was good to see."
Defensive coordinator John Chavis said it's impressive to see Agim and Harris take ownership of the team.
"Let me put it in these terms: Right now, those two are developing into some of the best leaders I've been around," Chavis said. "You give them those opportunities to do that and to be a leader. They are not afraid to talk to their teammates and not afraid to do those things.
"We want our seniors and we want older guys to be able to teach the young guys. When you can teach it, you've got a better understanding. They're still growing, and now they know some of the whys. Why we do it this way. This is why we teach this. They get a better feel for it, and it makes your team better."
Offensive coordinator Joe Craddock was asked about the ceiling for freshman receiver Treylon Burks after eight strong practices.
"Psshh, he doesn't have one. He don't have a ceiling," Craddock said. "That kid can be as good as he wants to be, and the thing that you love about him -- I was talking with Coach Morris the other day -- he has that Deshaun Watson mindset, that Deshaun Watson focus."
Watson, the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans, played for Morris and Craddock at Clemson.
"[Burks] comes out to work every day," Craddock said. "Does he mess stuff up? Yeah, he's a freshman, but man you love having that kid around. He works his butt off, wants to be great, studies it hard, watches extra film. Been really, really proud of him."
Offensive tackle Dalton Wagner wondered aloud whether some linemen could get partial credit for a touchdown scored by Devwah Whaley during goal-line work late in the scrimmage.
"We started off a tad bit too slow, but we picked it up a lot and really stepped it up toward the end of the scrimmage," Wagner said. "We dug deep into kind of overdrive, especially on the goal line and stuff.
"We were moving the rock in there, hoping we could kind of get a 1/4th of a touchdown because me, Colton [Jackson] and [Ty] Clary basically carried Devwah in there one time."
Tight end Cheyenne "C.J." O'Grady, who at times has worked with the third-team offense, has been practicing better, said Coach Chad Morris.
"I think C.J. has responded really well," Morris said. "C.J. is doing some good things and continues to add value in that tight end room and on this football team. So I've been pleased with the way he's responded."
Coach Chad Morris said there were no new injuries during Saturday's lengthy scrimmage, though freshman running back A'Montae Spivey missed some practice time after experiencing symptoms from asthma.
Several players missed the scrimmage, including tight end Hudson Henry and defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols, who are both in concussion protocol, and defensive end Eric Gregory (left ankle), who is expected to miss about four weeks after undergoing surgery Friday.
Last week, cornerback Jarques McClellion was asked for some of the highlights from practice.
"I locked up Mike Woods," McClellion said. "Same old, same old, and ain't nothing changed."
Woods got his say on the field and after Saturday's scrimmage. He caught a touchdown pass from Nick Starkel with McClellion in coverage.
"Corner was outside leverage and the safety wasn't there," Woods said. "Easy route, easy touchdown. Just pitch and catch."
Woods smiled when told McClellion had said he'd been locking him down.
"Talking all that [trash]," Woods said. "I mean, I ain't got to say nothing."
Running back Trelon Smith, a sophomore transfer from Arizona State who must redshirt this season, drew praise for his performance in the scrimmage.
"This kid's got a chance to be really special," Morris said. "He's playing really well, giving everything he's got. He really showed flashes today."
Linebacker Hayden Henry said Smith is hard to tackle.
"He's like water," Henry said. "He slips through the cracks. Every play. He's a very dynamic back.
"He breaks tackles, he jukes people. He's got great acceleration. Too bad he has to sit out this year because he could be a really good player for us. He did some really good things, absolutely."
Redshirt freshman Noah Gatlin posted on social media that he underwent successful surgery Friday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
"Just wanna say thank you to everyone who reached out to me and supported me this past week," Gatlin wrote on his Twitter account. "Ready to attack this recovery process and get back out there with my brothers! #WPS"
Sam Loy, a junior transfer from Colorado who punted at Vanderbilt, is providing quality competition for Reid Bauer, who handled those duties for the Razorbacks most of last season.
"I've been pleased with Sam," Coach Chad Morris said. "Sam's given us some competition and really making a push for that punting position.
"So it's still up in the air. This will be a big week. They're getting a lot of live work coming at them, and we're seeing how they respond."
Chad Morris talked with the parents of players before the scrimmage, then they stayed to watch their sons.
"It was great to have all our parents out here," Morris said. "We had a big meeting with our current player parents, kind of went through our expectations for the year.
"For them to come out here and be able to watch their son practice, that was pretty special. They enjoyed that. They didn't realize we were going to go so long, but that's all right. Hopefully, they brought sunscreen."
Portland St. prep
Offensive coordinator Joe Craddock said the Razorbacks haven't begun to focus on Portland State, their season-opening opponent Aug. 31.
"It will be a couple of weeks," Craddock said. "We won't next week. I really haven't looked out too much further than that.
"Usually about 10 to 12 days, out we'll start looking at a couple of things here and there."
Limmer at center
Freshman Beaux Limmer has been working at second-team center behind junior starter Ty Clary.
"Beaux has had an excellent camp," right tackle Dalton Wagner said. "He has been one of the guys that has really showed up.
"I wouldn't say I was surprised because I saw him in the summer drills doing his stuff, but he has really stepped up into his position and keeps communicating and keeps leading that two O-line."
Sports on 08/11/2019
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