Hogs host Auburn, honor D-mac
FAYETTEVILLE - While honoring their greatest running back of the past, it seems the Arkansas Razorbacks presently run into trouble hosting the Auburn Tigers.
As a 19-point underdog, Coach Chad Morris’ Razorbacks, 2-4, 0-3 in the SEC West, meet Coach Gus Malzahn’s nationally No. 11 Tigers 5-1, 2-1 in the SEC West, in today’s 11 a.m.
SEC Network televised SEC game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the University of Arkansas and the National Football Foundation co-honor Darren Mcfadden, the 2005-2007 Razorbacks great with two Doak Walker Awards as college football’s best running back and two Heisman Trophy runner-ups, honored with an on-campus salute for D-mac’s upcoming December induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately for Morris, he doesn’t have Mcfadden running for him like former Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt had. And the presently closest Arkansas Mcfadden facsimile, junior running back Rakeem Boyd, has been limited in this week’s practices since injuring a shoulder while rushing 15 times for
134 yards and two touchdowns in last Saturday’s 24-20 SEC loss to the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington, Kentucky.
Perhaps even bigger trouble the Hogs run into, their defense again must try to run down a running quarterback.
Last week, with injuries sidelining Kentucky’s conventional quarterbacks, the Wildcats’ most talented offensive player, wide receiver Lynn Bowden, moved to the quarterback position he played in high school. High school hardly could have been any easier for Bowden than it was running 24 times
after a year under the late Gayle Kaundart in Fort Smith at Westark Junior College before a long professional career playing then coaching in the NBA.
“I think it’’s going to be a great game for the entire state,” Musselman said. “Great event for Coach Walker’s team and certainly for our group as well. And then you add in the fact that it really is a special opportunity to honor Coach Richardson and then the new court. Really, really a special day. Much more meaningful than just a normal exhibition game. And then you add the fact that Coach Walker, an all-time great Razorback player is coaching the opposing team, it makes it even more intriguing. This kind of takes on a life of its own.”
A large contingent of those who played for Richardson are expected to attend.
“I think a lot of the former players are really looking forward to this day,” Musselman said.
Count Walker among that group. For while he played for Sutton, Walker became a staunch Richardson friend, supporter and admirer who will have his Trojans educated on Richardson’s impact on and off the court.
“My players don’t know this yet,” Walker said Thursday evening a returning a phone call. “But tomorrow after practice we’re all sitting down as a team watching “Forty Minutes of Hell” (the documentary on Nolan named for the “Forty Minutes of Hell” associated with his style of play). So when they are out there dedicating that court to Nolan Richardson they are going to know who the heck he is. I’m excited about the game and I’m excited for Coach Richardson.”
Musselman of course would like Vanover to be an active part in it. A Little Rock native appealing for instant eligibility both because transferring to the UA puts him far closer to his ailing grandmother in Little Rock than does Berkeley, California, and because Cal fired the head coach who signed him, for now Vanover is ineligible play against opposing schools, even in exhibitions like they can in the Red-white intrasquad game that the Razorbacks played on Oct. 5 at Walton Arena.
Unless granted appeals, or as graduate transfers, transfers from one NCAA Division I school to another must redshirt and begin eligibility with their new school on the following season.
Junior guard JD
Notae, transferring from Jacksonville (Fla.) University and definitely redshirting, also sits out Sunday’s game after playing in the Red-white game.
While knowing who won’t play, barring a sudden NCAA ruling on Vanover (Friday) or unless recent back spasms adds senior forward Adrio Bailey to be inactive Sunday, Musselman said he’s not ready publicly to name a Sunday starting five.
“We know who it is, we’re just not saying it right now,”
Musselman said. He explained why. “Because in the past
I’ve done that, then someone tweaks an ankle,” Musselman said. “So there’s no reason to. I have talked to a couple of guys and told them, ‘Hey, you’re going to come off the bench. Here’s why.’ But it’s not etched in stone, meaning going forward.
Sophomore guard Isaiah Joe of Fort Smith Northside, the leading returning scorer with two-year center Daniel Gafford gone to the NBA from last season’s Razorbacks under former Coach Mike Anderson, certainly seems a near cinch bet to be among the starting five.
Joe and returning sophomore guard Desi Sills of Jonesboro were the players that accompanied
Musselman to Wednesday’s SEC Men’s Basketball
Media Day in Birmingham, Alabama.
“We probably had a combination of the two youngest guys,” Musselman said. “They were awesome.”
Sills has been voted by his peers as the Razorbacks’ hardest worker of the preseason, Musselman said.
“He thanked me several times for bringing him,” Musselman said. “And I said, ‘It really wasn’t me, it was your teammates that felt you’d be a great representative for us.”
Joe’s credentials speak for themselves, Musselman said.
“Obviously Isaiah, it goes without saying why he was there because of his great freshman year that he had,” Musselman said.