Dudley E. Dawson is a reporter for Hawgs Illustrated. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Pool, Morris thrilled to have former Razorbacks at Saturday scrimmage
Hawgs Illustrated/Ben Goff Bumper Pool, Arkansas linebacker, recovers an Eastern Illinois fumble for 60 yards in the third quarter Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas sophomore linebacker Bumper Pool grew up a Razorback fan in Texas in large part because his dad Jeff went to college in Fayetteville.
So it was a great thrill for Pool (6-2, 228) Saturday to see many of his favorite Razorbacks from years gone by as they showed up for Former Player Day, hosted by Arkansas head coach Chad Morris and his staff.
It was at the start of a day that also saw two awards handed out - The PAT Award and the first Broyles Razorback Award.
“They were all out there and it was cool getting to see them come back,” Pool said. “Especially when we get to play for them because we look up to them.”
Morris began his post-scrimmage Saturday press conference with mention of the former Razorbacks, of which an estimated 100 or so attended.
“First of all it’s great to have all of our former players back,” Morris said. “We’ve got a big barbecue going on upstairs … I don’t know what our total number was, but when we called our team up at the end and brought all our former players up and their families, it was a lot of people around.
“Man, it’s really special to be able to bring those former players back in here and let them feel welcome. This is their home. There’s been a lot of sweat, and a lot of tears, a lot of laughter and wins. Some losses. More importantly, lessons in life are learned on that football field. To be able to bring those former football players back in here and to be around our current players is a very special day.”
Morris was born in Texas like Pool, but has reached out to former players and embraced Razorback culture headlong since he arrived in December 2017.
“It’s a unique opportunity,” Morris said. “There’s only one Razorback and when you wear that logo on the side of your helmet, you become very unique. We want our players to understand how important it is to be a former player and to put the sacrifice in. So it’s great to have them back.”
Pool was tossed into fray his freshman season when senior Dre Greenlaw was hurt.
He went on to play 275 defensive snaps and 65 special team plays in 10 games while making 29 tackles, 2.5 for lost yardage, breaking up four passes, blocking a kick and also returning a fumble 60 yards.
He admits that he was lost on the field a lot last season, but feels at home there this year.
“So much more comfortable,” Pool said. “Even the scrimmages, when you are rolling with the ones all spring and fall, it’s not a shock factor. It is just playing football, being comfortable and ballin’.”
Pool thought the 110-play scrimmage went really well.
“It went good,” Pool said. “I thought we had a lot of good things that we worked on. We have been working all week and finally to piece it all together at the end of the week and go live was good.
“We work situations at the end of every practice so we are constantly thinking about that. So getting into a scrimmage where we are fresh and getting those situations is going to make us a better football team.”
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Morris announced earlier Saturday via Twitter that Arkansas sophomore safety Joe Foucha had been named the winner of this month’s PAT award.
“Let’s start with the PAT Award,” Morris said. “It’s an award that we give every month, have been giving every month since we got here. It’s called for passion, attitude and trust. It’s voted on by people outside of our football building, academics, people that, whether it being our nutrition center, so what that represents is a young man that delivers the passion for being a Razorback and having a great attitude and someone you can trust.
“We’ve had several previous award winners and had them stand up this morning. But Joe won it, and it’s amazing. As I mentioned, you don’t have to be a senior to win this award. But we talk about it all the time, if you’re going to win an award, a monthly award, this is the one you want to win because it says so much what other people think of you. So, proud to see Joe.
“Joe’s had a great camp. The camp had nothing to do with him winning this award. He’s totally changed his body and his attitude toward just wanting to be the best he can be, so great young man, proud for him.
• • •
The first annual Broyles Razorback Player Award was handed out Saturday night to T.J. Smith in honor of former Arkansas head coach and athletic director Frank Broyles.
“It’s an award that we’ve been wanting to give out,” Morris said. “I’ve been thinking about it for close to a year. Wanted to do the right time to give it out, and this was the right time. And basically what we want is to just continue to educate our young men on what Coach Broyles did, not just for this university but for our entire state of Arkansas and for college football and his love of the Hogs that he had.
"...This will be a prestigious award. It’s something that I hope is given to a player as long as they play football here because it’s important that our young men know the impact that Coach Broyles had in this program and all across the country.
“... We’ll find a place here in the building on the wall to make sure we recognized these young men each year. We’ll always do it the third Saturday of August on the night of team pictures.”
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