Tom Murphy is a sports 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. He was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Razorback report: Injured likely to be back
Arkansas receiver Jadon Haselwood is shown during practice Thursday, April 7, 2022, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman updated the health of several players Thursday as the Razorbacks began implementing their game plan for the season opener against Cincinnati on Sept. 3.
Pittman said receiver Jadon Haselwood and offensive lineman Brady Latham should be back soon after missing time this week with undisclosed injuries.
“I feel strongly both of them will be back for the game,” Pittman said. “I’m not positive the day. Our goal will be to get them back no later than Monday, but of course we just have to wait and see on that. I really think Brady can probably practice right now. We’re just trying to buy another 48 hours with him to be honest with you.”
Because the Razorbacks will be having their mock game today, a veteran like Latham doesn’t need to go through it, which is a run-through of game day procedures with a little bit of situational work.
Defensive tackle Marcus Miller returned to practice after undergoing an arthroscopic knee procedure earlier in camp. Miller wore his red No. 90 jersey and Pittman said he expects Miller to play in the opener.
The same goes for receiver Jaedon Wilson, who has been wearing a green no-contact jersey this week following an AC joint injury to his left shoulder.
“We’ve just got him in the green because we don’t want to hit him,” Pittman said. “But he practiced all day yesterday and today and he’ll be ready.”
Reserve center Marcus Henderson might not be ready for the opener.
“He hasn’t been in there banging yet,” Pittman said. “So I don’t really know. Right now I probably wouldn’t count on him for next Saturday at this point.”
Tailback Dominque Johnson, who started practice this week in a green no-contact jersey, is getting closer to being back, though Sam Pittman said he isn’t sure he could be ready for the opener.
“I think at some point, we’re going to need to put him in versus scout so he can get popped around a little bit,” Pittman said. “I don’t see that happening until at least Monday, but if we can do that where he gets popped around a little bit and see how he feels.”
Pittman said Johnson, who rushed for 575 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns last season, has not experienced any swelling in his knee while doing limited work in a green no-contact jersey this week.
“He hasn’t done a whole lot, but he’s done full indy [individual drills] and hasn’t had swelling on it,” Pittman said. “So hopefully it continues that way after today’s practice, and hopefully we can get him out there and move him around a little bit Monday.”
Ketron to slot
With starting slot receiver Jadon Haselwood out most of the week, sophomore Ketron Jackson has been running in the slot with the starting receiver group of Warren Thompson and Matt Landers.
“Yesterday was his first day at slot,” Coach Sam Pittman said Thursday. “I pulled him aside and told him I thought he did a really good job there.
“We had a meeting in case Haselwood’s not able to play, who are our three top receivers and where do we need to put them to have the most success. Ketron has probably played as much ball as any of them. We know he knows that position, so I think we’ll be fine there as well. But certainly hope we get Haselwood back.”
Defensive tackle Taylor Lewis announced his plan to enter the transfer portal Thursday morning. Lewis, a 6-3, 317-pounder from Chicago, transferred in from College of the Canyons in California, picking the Razorbacks over Auburn, Missouri, Nebraska and others.
“I appreciate the entire coaching staff and all my teammates at the University of Arkansas,” Lewis posted on his Twitter account. “It is in my best interest for my athletic career and personal growth to enter the transfer portal.”
Coach Sam Pittman said one of the promises he made center Ricky Stromberg when the Tulsa Union product returned for his senior year was to help add versatility to his game.
While Pittman said the Razorbacks wouldn’t move Stromberg to any other spot to get a different center in the game, the 6-4, 318-pounder has taken around 35 or 40 snaps at guard in camp.
“We told him if he came back we could help him with his draft by moving him to guard so the guys could see him play guard,” Pittman said.
“The scouts were in today and they talked to me about it and I said ‘Look at practice this and look at practice that and you’ll see him playing guard, live, one-on-one versus the ones. So we have tried to help him that way and he’s certainly been good to us.”
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