Hogs lose a couple after loss
FAYETTEVILLE — Since Arkansas’ 24-20 SEC loss to Kentucky last Saturday night in Lexington, Kentucky, Razorbacks junior linebacker D’vone Mcclure of Jacksonville has withdrawn from the team while and true freshman cornerback Devin Bush said he’s entering the NCAA transfer portal.
Mcclure is raising a son and cited family obligations and academics as his pursuits now minus football, Arkansas Coach Chad Morris said Monday.
“I spoke with him last night, yesterday afternoon, and again late last night,” Morris said at his Monday press conference. “I think we all know his family situation with his son. As he shared with me, ‘Coach I want to step away from football and I want to focus on my academics and focus on getting a job to help support my family.’ That was the way we left it at that time.”
First a freshman receiver for Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks in 2016 after playing four years of minor league baseball within the Cleveland Indians’ organization, Mcclure withdrew from football in 2017 but returned in 2018 under new coach Morris and played all 12 games at nickel back. He has played all six games for these currently 2-4 overall, 0-3 in the SEC Razorbacks at outside linebacker/nickel back and special teams, and made 11 tackles with one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry.
Bush of New Orleans arrived in Fayetteville last January as a 4-star rated December high school graduate. He has played on special teams in four games this season and compiled no statistics.
“After speaking with my parents and coaches, I’ve made the decision to officially enter the transfer portal. Thank you Coach Morris and the staff for all you have done.”
As for all remaining, they’ve got a major task
beleaguered from last year’s 2-10, 0-8 in the SEC campaign, now 0-3 in the SEC coming off 31-27 and 24-20 SEC losses they believe they could have won against Texas A&M and Kentucky and now beset on consecutive SEC West Saturdays by the nationally 11th-ranked Auburn Tigers, 5–1, 2-1 and coming off a bye week into an 11 a.m. game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, then on Oct. 26 visiting the nationally No. 1/reigning SEC champion Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
“It’s obviously frustrating to come back in here after we keep putting ourselves in position to win games and we’re not stringing things together to finish it,” Morris said. “That’s our job as coaches. The only thing we can do is keep our head down and go back to work.”
And find a consistent quarterback.
So far among graduate transfers Ben Hicks via
SMU and Nick Starkel via Texas A&M, Hicks started and struggled in the 20-13
victory over lower division underdog Portland State and after a down 10-3 first half against Ole Miss was replaced by Starkel from the second half of the 31-17 loss through a 55-34 victory over Colorado State and Starkel’s three touchdowns but five interceptions in the 31-24 loss to three-touchdown underdog San Jose State. Hicks came on for an injured Starkel and played better than Starkel in the 31-27 loss to Texas A&M and from the final 3:16 of the third quarter on relieved a struggling Starkel against Kentucky and completed 5 of 8 passes for 81 yards to Starkel’s 7 of 19 for 41 yards.
Morris will use this week’s practices to designate Saturday’s starter against Auburn.
“Nick and Ben will get the one reps,” Morris said. “They were in here last night and everybody was ready to get back, which was very encouraging. So, with those guys getting a share of the one reps this week, I think the whole thing is consistency as a team, consistency as an offense. That’s really kind of what we’re looking for in this.”
Redshirt freshman John
Stephen Jones and true freshman KJ Jefferson, currently on schedule to redshirt, continue practicing at quarterback behind Starkel and Hicks, but so far have not played.
Morris was asked about junior running back Rakeem Boyd, 15 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns against Kentucky but also injuring his shoulder, and senior left offensive tackle Colton Jackson missing the Kentucky game because of concussion protocol after missing the Sept. 21 game with San Jose State because of concussion protocol.
“Rakeem, I think is running the ball as effective as anybody in the conference,”
Morris said. “I think his toughness level speaks for itself, especially playing through the (shoulder) injury that he had last year. We anticipate him being fine this week and back out there.”
What about Jackson who has been idled since the open date week after the Sept. 28 loss to Texas A&M?
“I anticipate him playing this week back into that starting rotation,” Morris said. “But it (concussion protocol) was something that’s been carrying on for a few weeks with him. We wanted to make sure he’s back fully healthy before he’s ready to go.”
Arkansas Razorbacks defender D’vone Mcclure, 36, attempts to make a tackle in a game last season. Mcclure has decided to walk away from the Hogs, due to “family obligations.”