Clay Henry is the publisher and executive editor of Hawgs Illustrated. He is a voter for the Heisman Trophy and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
New turf passes first test
Arkansas vs Portland State Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Give the new turf at Reynolds Razorback Stadium a green thumbs up after the first game Saturday.
That's what Pat Berger said after Arkansas beat Portland State, 20-13, on Saturday for the first game on the new Tahoma 31 field turf. The new grass field was only installed three weeks ago.
"It did great," said Berger, director of turf grass for the athletic department. "This was our first big test: three times in less than 24 hours."
Berger was referencing practices on Friday by both teams, then the game. No divots were visible after the game.
"I don't see any," he said. "I saw one play where I thought someone slipped in the northeast corner, but I don't see any divots there. So it may not have been the turf giving."
Berger has long been the UA expert on grasses. He came to the athletic department from Texarkana Country Club where he was golf course superintendent.
"This is a lot like being a golf course superintendent," he said. "Your members want to know what your plan is for watering and grass work for the next week. I couldn't tell them because you won't know until you get up the next morning and see what happened over night as far as rain. It's a changing process.
"This is the same thing. We don't know each day what we need until we see how much rain or how much sun we are going to get. It's all gone about the way you'd plan it, but I always have some questions about what we are going to need to do each day.
"We need to top dress the field to fill in some low spots. That's always the answer for a new field. It's no different than dealing with greens on a golf course. Top dressing is going to solve your problems. We just haven't had time and now we do with a road game this week.
"I'm happy, though. It's gone just about as well as you could expect for the timeline we had to get it down and then get to a first game."
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