Hogs take mental day following last scrimmage

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Thursday, August 22, 2019
Arkansas coach Chad Morris directs his players Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas coach Chad Morris directs his players Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Following an approximately 80-play scrimmage on Wednesday, Arkansas’ coaches elected to make practice No. 18 more of a mental preparation day.

The Razorbacks held a walk-through in shorts and their ’Every’ t-shirts inside Walker Pavilion on Thursday filled with situational work ahead of an hour-and-a-half, amped-up practice Friday and the Beanie Bowl, scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. in Razorback Stadium, which will feature more in-game scenarios.

Arkansas coach Chad Morris, when asked for his thoughts on the team’s performance in camp, said it has been mentally and physically challenging, but players have responded the way the staff had hoped heading in.

“There’s been a whole lot of reps that we’ve been able to coach, correct,” Morris added. “That’s been really good to see, so I think we’ve had a tremendous camp. I think it’s been a very physical camp. That alone is why some of the things we did yesterday, pulling some of the guys that we know that are proven players, we pulled them out a little bit early yesterday to let some of the young guys get some reps.

“I thought we got some good work in yesterday. Some guys were limited. A lot of guys were limited by design. (It was) an opportunity for some of the young guys to get some live action and a lot of work, so that was beneficial yesterday.”

Offensive lineman Austin Capps (knee sprain) returned to practice Thursday with a brace/sleeve over his right knee. Morris said the senior will be back in full pads on Friday. Colton Jackson, a projected starter at left tackle, was not seen during the open portion of the workout.

Freshman receiver Trey Knox (illness) missed his fourth consecutive day. Morris said Thursday he hopes to have him back “as soon as possible, sooner than later.”

“He’s sick right now. … We hope to have him back out,” he added. “I don’t anticipate him practicing tomorrow, but hopefully he’ll be back out Saturday and being with us, but we’ll see on that.”

Koilan Jackson (knee) also participated in the walk-through and wore a sleeve on his right leg. In regards to senior tight end Cheyenne O’Grady, who also battled a knee sprain that required clean-up surgery, the plan is to have him ready for Tuesday or Wednesday of game week.

“I believe CJ jogged a little bit today,” Morris said. “He is progressing. … We'll wait and re-evaluate that. I have not talked to (head athletic trainer) Dave (Polanski) since he did some work this morning.”

Freshman defensive lineman Eric Gregory, who went through spring practices with the Razorbacks and missed a majority of the preseason with a high ankle sprain, was seen outside on the grass practice field with a trainer working on agility and building strength in the ankle.

Morris was also not ready to name a starting quarterback on Thursday. That will come "next week at some point," but it will not be a game-time decision, he said.

Morris, who did not commit to playing both Ben Hicks and Nick Starkel in the opener, expects the quarterbacks to be professional once the job is awarded.

"You love the competitiveness. Everybody wants to play, everybody wants to start, but they can’t," he said. "They understand that there is only one guy we’re going to run out there. They also understand because they’ve been around the game of football long enough that when their opportunity does arise, they better be ready for it.

"That is just part of the game. It’s part of decisions you have to make."


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