Bro­ken foot bites Hogs again

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL / RECRUITING - TOM MUR­PHY

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.


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