Razorbacks report:

Junior LB Henry out for season

By: Bob Holt , Tom Murphy
Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Arkansas linebacker Hayden Henry tackles Western Kentucky running back Gaej Walker during a game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas linebacker Hayden Henry tackles Western Kentucky running back Gaej Walker during a game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas linebacker Hayden Henry is out for the season after undergoing recent shoulder surgery.

Henry, a junior from Pulaski Academy, did not play in the Razorbacks' 56-20 loss at No. 1 LSU last Saturday.

"He had shoulder surgery a few days ago," interim Coach Barry Lunney Jr. said Tuesday in his final media update before Friday's 1:30 p.m. season finale against Missouri in Little Rock.

"It was a significant injury," Lunney said. "There's nobody tougher on our football team. He's played with a brace and has tried to play and it got to the point where it was counterproductive for him and his long-term health. So, he had a really successful surgery a few days ago. He's already on the mend."

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Lunney also updated the injury situation at quarterback, where Week 11 starter KJ Jefferson and Nick Starkel both left the LSU game in concussion protocol.

"The quarterback situation is really day-to-day, hour-to-hour still," Lunney said. "I will tell you that both KJ and Nick threw the ball yesterday, were able to participate in part of practice, but their situation is also a very ongoing evaluation.

"A very fluid situation that we're looking at, so we're going to have a plan, a contingency plan and another contingency plan moving forward. It's just the hand that we've been dealt. It's kind of the way the quarterback situation has rolled out this year, so I guess it would be appropriate to go ahead and see its way through to Week 12."

Fuente involved?

USA Today columnist Dan Wolken suggested on Tuesday that Virginia Tech Coach Justin Fuente could be a candidate for the vacancy at Arkansas.

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"One name that has consistently come up as a potential target is Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente," Wolken wrote. "Though Arkansas would be a tougher place to win, Fuente has deep ties nearby in his native Oklahoma and could get away from a Virginia Tech fan base that hasn't completely appreciated how difficult a job he faced after Frank Beamer let the program slip over his final few years.

"Arkansas could undoubtedly offer Fuente more than the $4 million a year he currently makes."

Fuente, 43, led the Hokies to a 35-24 victory over Arkansas in the 2016 Belk Bowl. The Razorbacks were ahead 24-0 at halftime before suffering the biggest known blown lead in their history.

Fuente, from Tulsa, coached at Memphis from 2012-15, leading the Tigers to a 26-23 record. He is 33-18 at Virginia Tech and the Hokies face Virginia on Saturday with a chance to qualify for the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

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Closed down

Barry Lunney made the decision to bar the media from watching any practice this week. Typically the last few years, reporters who cover Arkansas have been given open viewing windows for about 20 minutes at the start of practices on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Lunney said the shortened week and the tenuous quarterback situation played a role in his decision.

"I just think the quarterback situation stuff is so overdone, it's so saturated," Lunney said. "Only we know, and need to know, what's going on behind closed doors at this point in time. Again, this is not an attempt at deception or anything like that, but that combined with how late we are in the season, we're going right into team [periods], right away.

"We're jumping right into team and getting going with our game plan. That, combined with the quarterback situation, I just made the determination that we're just going to let you guys have the players after [for interviews]."

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Back in Barry's day

Several Arkansas players have missed games this season because of concussions, and quarterbacks KJ Jefferson and Nick Starkel were in concussion protocol after Saturday's LSU game.

It made a reporter wonder if Razorbacks Coach Barry Lunney, who played quarterback at Arkansas from 1992-95, sustained any concussions during his career.

"Oh, for sure," Lunney said. "I think I got concussed the day Danny Ford showed up as coach, and we had to do open-field tackling versus our DBs.

"I got concussed daily. Anything severe, I don't really remember anything -- although that would be a symptom of having concussions."

Lunney then remembered being "knocked out" of a game against Mississippi State in 1993 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock that ended in a 13-13 tie.

"That was the only time I missed a game," Lunney said. "Got knocked out in the second quarter."

At the time, Lunney's father, Barry Lunney Sr., was the coach at Fort Smith Southside where Barry played for him.

"I woke up in the locker room with my dad standing there, and he had played Northside the night before and I still thought I was playing for him and I was concerned about the score of the Northside-Southside game," Lunney said. "I do remember that now."

Captain Capps

Barry Lunney Jr. said Austin Capps, a senior guard from Star City, will be the offensive team captain on Friday.

"He's the only senior on the offensive line," Lunney said. "In-state kid. He told me he watched his first Razorback game ever in Razorback Stadium.

"He doesn't show much emotion. If you guys know him and deal with him, he has a very good poker face. But I could see deep down through his excitement about being named captain. I couldn't have thought of another person to better epitomize who we want to represent us than Austin Capps."

Not the worst

Missouri Coach Barry Odom was asked at his Monday news conference about Arkansas -- which has lost 18 consecutive conference games -- being the worst SEC team ever.

"Number one, they're not even close [to being the worst]," Odom said. "They're going to score points and they're going to play good defense.

'We've got our own challenges, so I don't need to make a lot of comments about [that]. I think we'll get Arkansas' best game. They ended up last week against the No. 1 one team in the country scoring 20 points [in a 56-20 loss at LSU]. And if you watch the game in its entirety, the first quarter going back and forth, they were competing really well.

"I've recruited a bunch of these guys ... but they decided to go to Arkansas. I know what kind of skill set they've got. I know they've got tremendous coaches. We're going to have to play really well to have a chance to win the game."

Sports on 11/27/2019

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