Defensive end Gerald out for season
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas senior starting defensive end Dorian Gerald suffered a seasonending neck injury, Arkansas Coach Chad Morris reported Monday, from the Razorbacks’ 20-13 season-opening victory over Portland State last Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Gerald did not play in Saturday’s second half and instead was hospitalized after trainer Dave Polanski and the medical staff detected he had “strained an artery in his neck in the second quarter,” Morris said Monday.
“Credit Dave and our training staff and our doctors for being spot-on and on-point with everything,” Morris said. “It (from the typical football standpoint) is a very strange injury. He’ll be on blood thinner and will be out the rest of the year. We hope that he’ll be released late tonight or tomorrow. We spent some time there Saturday night and Sunday in the hospital with Dorian and his family.”
If proven medically fit again for football, Gerald, a second-year junior-college transfer, can redshirt this season and return in 2020 as a fifth-year senior.
Senior Jamario Bell of Junction City did most of the work at the end that Gerald had to vacate and contributed one half of a quarterback sack and was credited with a quarterback hurry forcing an incomplete pass.
How did Bell fare and does he likely start Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. SEC Network televised SEC opener for both the Razorbacks and Ole Miss Rebels at Mississippi’s Vaught-hemingway
Stadium in Oxford?
“He did fine,” Arkansas defensive coordinator
John Chavis said Monday. “Nobody played perfect, but he did a good job for us.
“We had some young kids in there that did as well. We’ve got to prepare them all, but yeah he did a good job for us.”
Is Bell likely to start? “Yeah I would think so, maybe,” Chavis said. “I say maybe, but he certainly was the next guy up in the game
and I don’t think that will change.”
With Bell in his first-ever Razorbacks start and senior Gabe Richardson on the other defensive flank, the backup defensive ends are all true freshmen: Mataio Soli, Collin Clay, Zach Williams and possibly Eric Gregory, injured ankle in preseason, but improved to practice on a limited basis this past game week.
All but Gregory played against Portland State.
“We had some young kids in there,” Chavis said. “We’ve got to prepare them all.”
Soli broke a hand last Saturday but can play with a cast, Morris said.
Morris said Soli had the cast on in Sunday’s light practice.
Senior starting left guard Austin Capps of Star City, injured during last Saturday’s game, should practice this week and play against Ole Miss, Morris said.
Senior Mackey Award candidate Cheyenne O’grady, mid-august arthroscopic knee injury and withheld from the game though practicing caution jersey limited last week, should play against Ole Miss, Morris said.
Junior receiver Jordan Jones of Smackover, high ankle sprain during the preseason, is “a couple of weeks” away from playing, Morris said.
For their performances against Portland State, the FCS underdog Morris credited, “having a good plan and playing hard and to the end like we knew they would,” Morris said junior running back Rakeem Boyd, 18 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown, was Arkansas’ offensive player of the game and that senior defensive tackle Sosa Agim, six tackles including two sacks, and junior strong safety Kamren Curl, an interception he returned 29 yards, and five tackles including two sacks were the co-defensive players of the game.
“Kam Curl and Sosa, both of these young men played about as well as I’ve seen these guys play since we’ve been here,” secondyear coach Morris said one game into his second Arkansas season.
Offensive coordinator/ quarterbacks coach Joe Craddock said Monday that senior eligibility graduate transfer (SMU) quarterback Ben Hicks, 14 of 29 without a turnover and 143 yards starts ahead of junior eligibility graduate transfer Nick Starkel. Starkel, a graduate transfer via Texas A&M, was 4 of 5 with Arkansas’ longest pass, 38 yards to freshman Trey Knox.
However the one pass he didn’t complete for Arkansas was picked in the red zone squandering Curl’s 29-yard interception return to the PSU 18.
“I don’t think Nick did anything to overtake Ben,” Craddock said. “I think if he goes in and throws a touchdown over the top instead of an interception, we may be talking something different. Ben protected the football and managed the game. Obviously he missed a couple of throws. It’s just about hitting the balls that are there.”
And maybe getting a little help from his friends.
“I counted about five drops and about three throwaways,” Craddock said. “So you take that away from his stat line he’s up there in that 66 range of completions. The three throwaways, I’ve got to call a better play. The five drops, we’ve got to make those plays.
The Razorbacks used Monday for their NCAA mandated off day.
Today they hold their heaviest practice of the week.