Broken foot bites Hogs again
FAYETTEVILLE — Three days into training camp, the Arkansas Razorbacks have suffered their first significant injury, and it’s another broken foot.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Jamario Bell underwent surgery on his foot Monday afternoon, Coach Bret Bielema said, and he will be out for the next 10 to 12 weeks.
“Losing him for the season, or the majority of it, is too bad because he’d been doing a lot of nice things,” Bielema said.
Broken foot bones have been a recurring issue for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in recent years, with a rash of foot surgeries for players such as Jonathan Williams, Keon Hatcher, Cody Hollister, Kody Walker, Dre Greenlaw and Alexy Jean-Baptiste. Bielema has said previously the Razorbacks have looked into the potential causes for broken foot bones, including types of shoes and cleats, playing surfaces, workout regimens and other factors.
Bielema said team doctors could not tell whether Bell had aggravated a past injury or incurred a new one.
“They weren’t able to diagnose for sure what was going on until they got … with a certain machine over in the hospital and got a certain read and saw there was a fracture that needed to be repaired,” Bielema said.
Bielema said he called Bell to offer him encouraging words.
“The kid hasn’t had an easy road, whether he’s brought it on himself or switching positions from defense to offense, and now back,” Bielema said. “He was really flourishing.
“I said, ‘Hey, don’t let this one get you. You’ve been battling back from setbacks, and I know 10-12 weeks can sound daunting, but let’s get your grades on track.’ He’s just had the best semester academically he’s ever had.”
Bell had been a backup at a “Hog” outside linebacker spot behind senior Karl Roesler. Because Roesler has been limited after tweaking his hamstring the final week of summer voluntary work, Bielema said the defensive staff is making short-term adjustments.
Starting “Razor” linebacker Randy Ramsey is going to work at the “Hog” position, and senior Dwayne Eugene will move up to first team at Ramsey’s spot “just for today,” Bielema said.
“Randy Ramsey plays Hog on certain down and distances into the boundary, so we’re going to put him over there and put Dwayne Eugene up with the ones and let the two guys who have the most experience [practice with the starters],” Bielema said.
Bielema said newcomers such as Gabe Richardson, Hayden Henry and Derrick Munson will take added reps because of the injury.
Bielema, the only Arkansas coach or player to talk Monday after Sunday’s mandatory off day, said receiver Jared Cornelius has been taken off the 105-man roster while his sore back is healing, and walkon River Warnock has been put in his place. Tyler Pennington, a preferred walk-on linebacker from Cary, Ill., has been added to take Bell’s spot on the 105-man roster.
Bielema said Roesler, linebacker Dre Greenlaw, safety Josh Liddell and offensive guard Jalen Merrick have minor injuries that require limiting their practice reps.
“Nothing significant, we just don’t want to overtax them with this much time in fall camp,” he said.
Bielema said the first week of camp — which started with helmets and shorts Thursday and Friday, then graduated to modified pads on Saturday — went well.
“We stayed on course as far as our install plan as far as offensive and defensive schemes,” Bielema said.
Monday was the Razorbacks’ final day in what Bielema calls “half pack.” The players will work in full pads today.
“We’ll really progress this week nicely … some install of some opponent preparation towards the end of the week, then have our first full scrimmage on Saturday,” Bielema said. “That should probably be one of the two most significant scrimmages of fall, so we’re excited about that.”
Bielema has not announced whether Saturday’s scrimmage will be closed or open to the media or public.