Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for WholeHogSports.com. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Bordelon previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Springdale. He is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Practice notebook: Henry absent, Lunney on De'Jon Harris
Arkansas linebacker Hayden Henry catches a ball Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, during practice at the university practice facility in Fayetteville.
Arkansas continued prep for No. 1 LSU on Wednesday, sending defensive players outside and offensive guys inside Walker Pavilion. A few notes from the open-viewing window and Barry Lunney Jr.'s pre-practice interview:
• Razorbacks linebacker Hayden Henry, who I did not see at practice on Tuesday, was not present Wednesday either. Been told he is dealing with an upper-body injury. De’Jon Harris and Bumper Pool were the first-team linebackers today, and Grant Morgan and Andrew Parker were the 2s.
• Lunney reiterated that the bye week came at a good time for Pool, who began last week’s workouts in a yellow jersey then was absent last Wednesday. He looks to be full go and ready play significant time against the Tigers on Saturday after dealing with a muscle strain.
“He’s gotten better and better each day,” he said of Pool.
• Other injury notes: It doesn’t seem likely receiver De’Vion Warren (ankle) will be healthy enough to go against LSU, according to Lunney. Warren has not been definitively ruled out for Saturday, but next week is looking like the best time for him to return to action.
Offensive lineman Kirby Adcock should be available against the Tigers. He has been in concussion protocol since Arkansas’ loss at Alabama. Adcock was full go in practice today and in a standard offensive jersey.
• KJ Jefferson was leading Arkansas’ first-team offense against the scout-team defense as we were leaving practice. He took first-team reps, too, against air and looked to be throwing the ball well and with solid accuracy. He had one inaccurate ball against air that I saw, but Trey Knox made an unbelievable one-handed catch. Receivers coach Justin Stepp then turned to reporters who were filming practice and said, “You guys got that catch by Trey Knox, right?”
• Several former Razorbacks were at practice today. The list: Matt Wait, James Johnson, Bryan White, Joe Dean Davenport, Grant Cook, Austin Tate, Tim Smith, Ken Hatfield and Kenny Sandlin. Lunney had a short, humorous note on Hatfield from today.
“Coach Hatfield introduced himself as a 1962-64 player, and I said, ‘That’s the most modest introduction in the history of Arkansas athletics.’ This guy right here was the all-time winningest football coach percentage-wise in Arkansas football history. That’s who I grew up watching.”
• Connor Limpert will be the captain who joins De’Jon Harris, McTelvin Agim and TJ Smith for the coin toss this weekend. Lunney spoke very highly of Limpert earlier in the week, labeling him Mr. Consistent and Steady Eddie a couple of times.
• Lunney said Harris was one of the first players he reach out to amid the transition last week just to get a pulse for the team and how it was holding up. He has sensed a different demeanor with Harris this week as he heads to south Louisiana for the final time in his college career.
“The first thing he said was that he was actually embracing the fact that the game was at night and was hoping to experience that,” Lunney said. "That doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be a tough environment, but if you are going to go do it he wanted to do it with the whole enchilada, so to speak. He’s been really focused, along with all of them.
“But he’s led that charge in a lot of ways. I think our players know, and there’s others - Joe Foucha, Andrew Parker, Greg Brooks - that this is important to them also. But this is Scoota’s last time to suit up against them. We’re taking all of our guys to give their best. That’s all we want, to give their best.”
• Wrapping up his pre-practice media session, Lunney was asked about breaking through after an 0-17 stretch in SEC play several years ago and trying to do the same now. He was candid.
“It has been tough. It’s been very tough. It’s a tough game, it’s a grind,” Lunney said. "A lot of work goes into each week into preparation - six days of it. And when you come up short it’s tough. It’s tough to deal with. It’s disappointing - even disheartening, I should even say, at times. This is the second time I’ve seen that. I’ve seen us break through that and come out on the other side and become great.
“I believe just on the other side of your great obstacles is your greatest breakthrough. I think it has been tough on our guys, but I don’t really draw a comparison to numbers. But our kids, our players and our coaches are overdue for something good to happen to us. It’s not going to be given to us. We’re going to have to go earn the thing. There’s no way around it.”
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