Hog young­sters see­ing time in bye week

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Nate Allen Ra­zor­backs Re­port

FAYETTEVIL­LE - The Ra­zor­backs con­cluded their open-date week prac­tices with a Thurs­day work­out com­pletely closed to me­dia.

Fol­low­ing the prac­tice, Coach Chad Mor­ris and the max­i­mum num­ber of as­sis­tants al­lowed on the re­cruit­ing road fanned out to take in var­i­ous high school games for the week­end.

Arkansas, 2-3 over­all, 0-2 in the SEC West, and its next

op­po­nent, the Ken­tucky Wild­cats, 2-3, 0-3 in the SEC East and also prac­tic­ing through an open-date week, meet at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 at the Wild­cats’ Kroger Field in Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky.

Mor­ris and his staff and the Ra­zor­backs re­assem­ble Sun­day in Fayettevil­le launch­ing game-week prepa­ra­tions for their trip to Lex­ing­ton. Arkansas will fol­low its game-week rou­tine of a work­out Sun­day, Mon­day as the NCAA man­dated off day, and its most phys­i­cal prac­tices next Tues­day and Wed­nes­day, and a com­pletely closed light prac­tice next Thurs­day be­fore trav­el­ing next Fri­day to Lex­ing­ton.

Mor­ris said on Wed­nes­day’s SEC tele­con­fer­ence that the Ra­zor­backs have used the open date

week to­wards heal­ing the in­jured, rest­ing the over­worked, and work­ing ev­ery­one else hard, es­pe­cially the young red­shirts and sel­do­mused re­serves get­ting an Oc­to­ber style head start on spring prac­tice.

Ditto, says Ken­tucky Coach Mark Stoops.

“Prob­a­bly a good time for us and our team to have a bye,” Stoops said on Wed­nes­day’s SEC tele­con­fer­ence. “We have some play­ers who need a lit­tle ex­tra time to get healed up. Hope­fully that’ll hit the re­set but­ton for us a lit­tle bit. We need to build on the good things we’re do­ing and im­prove in some ar­eas. We have to heal up this week and also try to get ahead for Arkansas in two weeks. That’s the plan here for the open week.”

The Ra­zor­backs have so re­lied in the in­te­rior de­fen­sive line on se­nior

start­ing tack­les T.J. Smith, rec­og­nized by Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus last week for his per­for­mance in Arkansas’ 31-27 SEC loss to three­touch­down fa­vored Texas A&M, and Mctelvin “Sosa” Agim and fourth-year ju­nior backup Jonathan Mar­shall and red­shirt fresh­man

Isa­iah Ni­chols, that fresh­man re­serve tack­les Mar­cus Miller, Tau­rean Carter and Enoch Jack­son are red­shirt el­i­gi­ble.

Th­ese open date prac­tices show­cased them.

“They’re com­ing along,” de­fen­sive tack­les coach Kenny In­gram said. “They’re still grow­ing and ad­just­ing as fresh­men, but they’re do­ing fine.”

Since un­der an NCAA rule adopted last year, a player can play up to four games and still be red­shirt el­i­gi­ble, look for Miller to be worked into some of the sea­son’s re­main­ing seven

games.

“He’s a guy that was a lit­tle bit ahead of some of the other guys com­ing in,” In­gram said. “We’re just look­ing for the right op­por­tu­nity and right chance to get him some ex­pe­ri­ence out there on the field.”

After a strug­gling game in the 34-27 loss to three-touch­down un­der­dog San Jose State, true fresh­man nickel back Greg Brooks cashed a big-time game against Texas A&M, Arkansas de­fen­sive back­field coach Ron Cooper said.

Cooper came to Arkansas last year with de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor John “Chief” Chavis after serv­ing on Chavis’ de­fen­sive staffs at LSU and Texas A&M.

“Greg has def­i­nitely got­ten bet­ter,” Cooper said. “This last week was prob­a­bly his best game. He had a hard game two games ago. We did some things tech­nique

and fun­da­men­tal- and align­ment-wise to help last week and it to­tally helped. That po­si­tion has been a po­si­tion in this de­fense that’s been mas­tered by a cou­ple of re­ally good play­ers. I’ve only played one as a true fresh­man and that’s Tyrann Mathieu (the Kansas City Chiefs de­fen­sive back called the “Honey Badger” dur­ing his Al­lamer­i­can days at LSU). He played it and played it re­ally well. Other than that, it’s taken some guys one or two years to get it.”

Trey­lon Burks, the 6-3, 223-pound true fresh­man from War­ren, lit­er­ally has played a big hand for th­ese Ra­zor­backs as a wide re­ceiver (13 catches for 230 yards) and punt re­turner, 8 for 97 yards in­clud­ing break­ing a 32-yard re­turn against Texas A&M.

“He wears 5X gloves which I think we had to

or­der some for him,” re­ceivers coach Justin Stepp said. “He’s got huge hands and he goes and at­tacks the ball. He does the same thing on punts.”

Burks catches punts so ag­gres­sively un­ortho­dox that Stepp said he cringed the first times Burks re­turned them in prac­tice.

“When he started re­turn­ing punts in fall camp I was back there try­ing to coach my tail off and try­ing to get him fixed,” Stepp said. “And Coach Mor­ris fi­nally looked at me one day and said, ‘Hey, Stepp, just leave him alone.’ There were

NFL guys on the side­line at AT&T Sta­dium (the Dal­las Cow­boys’ sta­dium and site of last Satur­day’s Arkansas vs. Texas A&M game) that were say­ing, ‘Man, I’ve never seen a hu­man be­ing catch it like that.’ And I said, ‘I haven’t ei­ther, but it works.”

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