Malzahn expects to see both Hog QBS
FAYETTEVILLE - Since the three games he’s used two quarterbacks, the better performance has come off the bench. Arkansas Razorbacks Coach Chad Morris hasn’t ruled out pre-planning for both Nick Starkel and Ben Hicks quarterbacking against the Auburn Tigers.
Arkansas, 2-4, 0-3 in the SEC, and Coach Gus Malzahn’s nationally No. 11 Tigers, 5-1, 2-1, meet in Saturday’s 11 a.m. SEC West game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium televised by the
Hicks started but was relieved in the second half by the more effective Starkel starting the second half back on Arkansas’ Sept. 7 loss, 31-17 to Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi.
In Arkansas’ last two games, 31-27 and 24-20
SEC losses to Texas A&M on Sept. 28 at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium and 24-20 at Kentucky,
Hicks was more effective replacing an injured Starkel from late in the first half on against A&M and replaced a struggling Starkel from the final 3:16 of the third quarter through the finish in Lexington, Kentucky.
Morris has alternated both on the first unit in practices this week and did not designate a starter during Wednesday morning’s SEC Coaches/media teleconference.
“Yeah, everything is a possibility at this point,” Morris said if he possibly could pre-plan on using both quarterbacks against Auburn. “I know yesterday was a really competitive day on not just offense. It was defense. It was one of our better days that we’ve had. So it was great to see the energy level with our players and then just staying through the process. I think our quarterback (situation) that we’ve got going on right now in practice has been very healthy. And yes, I would be open to the guy that - if whoever we play and start - if it doesn’t go as planned to be able to bring the other guy off the bench. I think they both have proven that they’re in a comfort level to do that.”
On his Wednesday morning SEC teleconference, Malzahn presumed Auburn seeing both Arkansas quarterbacks.
“I think they’ve got two guys that can get the job done,” Malzahn said. “They’ve got the luxury of if a guy isn’t doing great they can bring the other guy in. The backups really went in and really gave them a spark. Our approach is we’re really expecting to see both of them and that’s happened a few times this year.
Colton Jackson, the senior starting left offensive tackle from Conway practicing Tuesday for the first time since his concussion from the Texas A&M game, came through it fine, Morris said on the teleconference and will play Saturday.
Although they were in green limited-practice jerseys Tuesday, Morris went into Wednesday’s practice believing that running back Rakeem Boyd, injured shoulder during the Kentucky game, and safety Joe Foucha “banged up”, ‘Foucha said Tuesday, from the Kentucky game will play Saturday.
“All three will play,” Morris said. “Colton was in a regular jersey. The other two were in green but I anticipate those two transitioning over to regular color jerseys this week. They’ll both be ready to go Saturday.”
Since losing by 14 at
Ole Miss, Arkansas lost by seven, 31-24 to San Jose
State after rallying from down 24-7 to tie it 24-24, and lost by four to Texas A&M and by four to Kentucky.
All three woulda-couldashouldas rankle Morris.
“Disappointed that we keep putting ourselves in position to win games and 20 yards away and just unable to find a way to win games like that,” Morris said opening Wednesday’s teleconference. “We’ve got to be able to do that. But we’re back in here on Sunday and had a really good work week and are excited to get back in our home stadium, back in front of our home fans. We’ve got a lot of things going on this weekend. A lot of recruits on campus and we’re honoring Darren Mcfadden (the former twotime Doak Walker Award and two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up 20052007 Razorbacks running back) and his Hall of Fame induction and obviously honoring the 1969 and 1989 teams. So a lot of things going on.”
Frank Broyles’ 9-2 1969 Razorbacks played the “Shootout” 15-14 epic loss to Texas and Ken Hatfield’s 1989 and 1988 Razorbacks were Southwest Conference champions.
Saturday’s game marks Arkansas’ first at Reynolds Razorback Stadium since the Sept. 21 game against San Jose State.
“Just excited to be back in our home stadium,” Morris said.