Hogs be­gin fall prac­tice

The Saline Courier Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Nate Allen Ra­zor­backs Re­port

FAYET­TEVILLE - Other than a not yet fully as­cer­tained in­jury red­shirt fresh­man tackle Noah Gatlin of Jones­boro, all re­port­edly went well in Fri­day night’s closed prac­tice open­ing the Ra­zor­backs’ pre­sea­son.

Arkansas Coach Chad Mor­ris talked with me­dia after the two-hour work­out that me­dia wit­nessed for the first 20 min­utes.

Gatlin, an ex­pe­ri­enced red­shirt whom Mor­ris uti­lized for the 2019 in­voked rule that al­lowed a max­i­mum four games played and re­tain­ing el­i­gi­bil­ity, “went down” late in prac­tice with what Mor­ris said he be­lieved was a knee in­jury.

Fri­day’s drills were all non-con­tact as the NCAA man­dates the first two prac­tices with hel­mets as the only stan­dard foot­ball equip­ment and then grad­u­ally adding pads for the first five days un­til the first full­con­tact prac­tice.

“I think it was his knee, but I don’t know,” Mor­ris said. “It was three-quar­ters into prac­tice. I don’t know how big a deal it is. We’ll find out about that and reeval­u­ate and hope to get him back.”

Gatlin has been chal­leng­ing third-year sopho­more Dal­ton Wag­ner for first-team right tackle.

Be­yond Gatlin’s set­back, sec­ond-year Coach Mor­ris saw a Ra­zor­backs en­thused to rebound from their 2-10 sea­son of 2018 that in­cluded 0-8 in the SEC.

“When th­ese guys came back out here yes­ter­day (Thurs­day) and had our big weigh-in and our big team meet­ing and go­ing through our ex­pec­ta­tions, the at­mos­phere was dif­fer­ent,” Mor­ris said. “A lot more com­fort­able. I think you saw that with a coach­ing staff to­day. Every­body was more

com­fort­able in our en­vi­ron­ment and play­ers un­der­stand­ing ex­actly what we’re ask­ing them. A lot of great en­ergy.”

Mor­ris saw a good blend of old and new.

“A lot of ex­cite­ment and a lot of new faces and new num­bers and ob­vi­ously that new en­ergy that’s out there,” Mor­ris said. “I’m ex­cited. I thought we had a re­ally good Day One. And [Satur­day] we’ll get back out here and have an­other Day One. That is the chal­lenge of this foot­ball team to keep that en­ergy and that at­tack mode 100 percent of the time.”

In­tan­gi­bly and tan­gi­bly, for­mer SMU Head Coach Mor­ris, pre­vi­ously the offensive co­or­di­na­tor at Clem­son and Tulsa, said he saw a first day dif­fer­ence from past teams he’s coached call­ing Fri­day “the best first day in­stall.”

“Year Two, you ex­pect that,” Mor­ris said. “And the sec­ond part of that is the work that th­ese guys have put in. We re­ally com­mended th­ese guys. Coach Tru (Car­roll, the strength coach over­see­ing the sum­mer conditioni­ng pro­gram) gave us the keys to the truck so to speak. The truck was in the park­ing lot and it’s time to go put in work. That’s what we did.”

Nate Allen Sports Ser­vice

Arkansas Ra­zor­backs fans call the Hogs in a game last sea­son. The Ra­zor­backs held their first fall prac­tice on Fri­day in Fayet­teville.

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