Razorbacks Report:

Practice the same after being named starter, QB Starkel says

By: Bob Holt , Tom Murphy
Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel waits for the snap Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel waits for the snap Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Quarterback Nick Starkel said his first practice as the starting quarterback for the University of Arkansas wasn't substantially different than his previous work.

"I think it's the same preparation every week," Starkel said after Tuesday's practice in advance of Saturday's 3 p.m. game against Colorado State. "Everyone in the QB room prepares as if they're the starter.

"Obviously, there's a guy running with the ones and that's probably who is going to start. But it's really the same preparation for me."

Starkel completed 17 of 24 passes for 201 yards in the second half of Saturday's 31-17 loss at Ole Miss after Ben Hicks played the entire first half and went 7 of 16 for 98 yards.

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The Razorbacks in the media room at the Smith Football Center on Tuesday said the top quarterback always will have their support.

"So Nick came in and kind of just gave us a spark," tight end Cheyenne O'Grady. "We started doing some good things on offense, and we're all just behind him. We're all behind Ben as well. We're going to see what happens and give him a shot."

Receiver Mike Woods said he saw confidence from Starkel.

"He wasn't the starting quarterback at first, and I can see how that can do something to him, but he came out there confident just like we know how he is," Woods said. "He came in confident and threw it around the yard."

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Defensive end Gabe Richardson said who starts at quarterback for Arkansas doesn't matter to him.

"I don't care who's in the pocket," he said. "Let's go in and win some games. Snap the ball, line up whoever you want to, let's go."

Personnel report

Offensive guard Austin Capps was dressed out at Tuesday's practice and in his red No. 54 jersey, though he did not go through the early team period open to the media. Capps did go through position drill work and is considered questionable for Saturday's game.

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Freshman Ricky Stromberg, who got his first start Saturday, ran with the first unit in the team period. Left tackle Colton Jackson (foot) also did group drills but watched the early team period, which had Myron Cunningham at left tackle, Kirby Adcock at left guard, Ty Clary at center and Dalton Wagner at right tackle.

Freshman wideout Trey Knox was dressed out, but he did not participate in the early team period. Koilan Jackson ran with the first offense at receiver along with Treylon Burks and T.Q. Jackson.

Tight end Chase Harrell, who suffered an arm or shoulder injury in the opener but played against Ole Miss, was the only player in a green (no-contact) jersey Tuesday.

Harris better

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Linebacker De'Jon Harris said he was suffering from cramps against Ole Miss when he went to the sideline with 3:54 left in the second quarter.

Harris, who was replaced by Grant Morgan, returned during the Rebels' second offensive series of the second half.

"I'm feeling fine," Harris said Tuesday. "I got my body back right. I didn't have much food on my stomach, and I'd been feeling sick the past couple of weeks anyway. But I'm fine right now."

Blown special

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Cheyenne O'Grady was going to be the recipient of a wide receiver pass from Treylon Burks on Saturday, if only Burks had gotten the ball.

Quarterback Nick Starkel threw to Mike Woods on the left side of the formation instead of Burks on the right. O'Grady had released unguarded from his position on the right side of the line and was wide open down the field as Woods caught the forward pass from Starkel. Because he couldn't throw a second forward pass, Woods tried to elude Ole Miss defenders but was thrown for a 14-yard loss.

"Me being a senior, I couldn't let that get to me," O'Grady said. "Just looking ahead, thinking positive, staying in the game and telling everybody else the same thing."

Starkel took full responsibility for the busted play.

[Video not showing up above? Click here to watch » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPAH1K6izJU]

"I didn't know the play that well," he said. "I called the protection wrong. Devwah [Whaley] started to go the right way and I sent him the wrong way. And he listened to the quarterback. He did a great job on that even though he knew I was wrong. I throw it to the wrong guy and it was a forward pass."

Soli starts

True freshman Mataio Soli earned his first career start Saturday, but he was playing with a broken bone in his right hand. The team trainers wrapped his soft cast into a big club.

"During the whole game it wasn't really bothering me that much," Soli said.

Soli, who posted three tackles and a hurry at Ole Miss, said the hand can be painful.

"It is sometimes," he said. "Sometimes it can be a nag, but like I said, we've just got to play through the pain. Do what you can to stay out there."

Soli said he was't sure how long he'll have to wear a cast.

"As long as I'm out there and I'm able to play, I'm happy with it," he said.

Kicking stuff

Connor Limpert drilled a 47-yard field goal right down the middle to end the first rack of plays for the starting offense on Tuesday. Matthew Phillips pushed his 47-yard try just wide right after the second rack of plays.

Punt struggles

Sam Loy hit a 51-yard punt to the Ole Miss 24 on his first attempt Saturday, but he struggled much of the rest of the game. Loy had punts that covered 24 yards to the Ole Miss 24; 35 yards to the Ole Miss 15; 38 yards to the Arkansas 47; 35 yards to the Ole Miss 44; and 31 yards to the Ole Miss 34.

"If the first punt was going to be any indication of what it was going to look like the rest of the night, I thought he was fixing to have a great night punting the ball," Coach Chad Morris said. "I thought that we put him in too many what we call pin-punt situations, where we're trying to get the ball inside the 20-yard line and we couldn't ever get the ball to turn over. But that's something we're going to continue to work."

Radio guys

Junior linebacker Grant Morgan and junior receiver De'Vion Warren will join the On the Air with Chad Morris show with the coach tonight at the Catfish Hole Restaurant.

The one-hour show will start at 7 p.m.

Warren, of Monroe, La., has 4 carries for 49 yards, and 4 kickoff returns for 88 yards.

Morgan, of Greenwood, has 13 tackles this season and has played in 26 consecutive games.

Nice record

Colorado State Coach Mike Bobo is 7-1 against Arkansas as a Georgia assistant and Rams head coach, including 3-0 in Fayetteville.

Bobo was the Bulldogs' quarterbacks coach in 2001-06 and offensive coordinator in 2007-14 before going to Colorado State.

Georgia was 6-1 in six meetings with Arkansas between 2001 and 2014, and Colorado State beat the Razorbacks 34-27 last season in Fort Collins, Colo.

"I've had some good players. That helps," Bobo said. "Good players help. I can think of some of those games that were nail-biters. We just had some guys making plays."

Georgia beat Arkansas 34-23 in Athens in 2001 and 30-3 in the 2002 SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. The Bulldogs won 20-14 in Fayetteville in 2004, 23-20 in Athens in 2005 and 52-41 in Fayetteville in 2009.

The Razorbacks finally beat Bobo's Bulldogs in 2010 with a 31-24 decision in Athens on a late touchdown pass from Ryan Mallett to Greg Childs.

In 2014 when Georgia last played Arkansas, the Bulldogs won 45-32 in Little Rock.

"These are different times," Bobo said. "I'm at Colorado State. We played them last year, and to be honest we were lucky to win that game."

Southern boys

Colorado State virtually can match the Razorbacks in players who hail from the fertile recruiting soil of Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.

The Rams sport 21 players on their two-deep chart from those states, including 13 on defense. The Razorbacks have 22 players from that four-state mix, including 14 on defense.

Sports on 09/11/2019


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