Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Nichols making a move in practice
Arkansas defensive linemen Jonathan Marshall (left) and Isaiah Nichols work through a drill Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Over the past week, Arkansas sophomore defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols has been taking more work with Jonathan Marshall and the starting defense in periods open to media viewing.
Nichols, Marshall and graduate transfer Xavier Kelly appear to be the top three defensive tackles, with redshirt freshmen Marcus Miller and Taurean Carter in the next wave of inside guys.
“I feel like I’m getting a lot better than last season,” Nichols said recently. “But I still have some things in my game [like] my pass rush. I’ve got to work on my pass rush. I really have got to work on everything, especially playing in this conference with the offensive lines and the teams we face.”
Nichols said defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc is instilling toughness in the group.
“That’s how we practice and play defense, to be tough and physical,” Nichols said. “I feel like that’s the most important thing in the defensive line is being tough and playing hard-nosed football.”
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.