By Otis Kirk
Arkansas expects to have senior linebacker Dre Greenlaw as well as a pair of running backs, junior Devwah Whaley and sophomore Rakeem Boyd, on Friday against Missouri according to Chad Morris.
“They’ll all be ready to go,” Morris said. “They were all out there yesterday. I know Dre was not in pads but he was out there. They’ll be ready to go on Friday.”
Boyd leads the Razorbacks in rushing with 118 carries for 729 yards and two touchdowns. Whaley is second with 69 rushes for 314 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Greenlaw is third on the Razorbacks with 80 tackles despite missing two full games and part of another. He also had 6.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, one quarterback hurry, one recovered fumble and a forced fumble.
Arkansas is expected to start two redshirt freshmen, a senior and true freshman in the secondary on Friday due to two starters being suspended. Morris talked about how the young players have responded in practice this week.
“I think our guys have done a really good job,” Morris said. “The energy level has been high. It’s kind of been an all-hands on deck and we’ve got to continue to pull together. This is just a growing opportunity for some of these young guys and they’ve done a good job this week.”
Arkansas is expected to start Montaric Brown and Jarques McClellion at the cornerbacks, both are redshirt freshmen, and then true freshman Joseph Foucha with senior Santos Ramirez at the safeties. Ramirez is second on the team in tackles with 85 and has recovered a fumble.
Missouri coach Barry Odom talked about Arkansas missing some starters in the secondary.
“I know they’ll be ready to play,” Odom said. “They’ll be well-coached. At the point of the year, I don’t really put an age by who’s playing. We’ve got a lot of freshmen running around out there, too. So as teachers in the position to get guys trained and ready and prepped for all situations, I’m sure they’ve got enough experience. I know their staff are talented and really, really good coaches. They’ll have their guys ready to play.”
At the conclusion of Tuesday’s practice the Arkansas players carried the seniors off the field on their shoulders. Morris talked about how that came about.
“Yeah, it’s something we’ve done for a long time,” Morris said. “It just recognizes all the hard work these guys put in and when you get to that last padded practice, all the blood, sweat and tears are on that practice field and just an opportunity for us to start a tradition here.
“I didn’t know if they had one and they shared with me they didn’t. I said we’re going to start one. It’s just another way to say ‘Thank you and we appreciate the hard work and the foundation that you’re laying.’ That was it. It was fun. The guys did a great job with it.”
Morris also talked about the plans the team has for Thanksgiving.
“We actually had our team Thanksgiving meal last night on the last padded practice,” Morris said. “Had an opportunity to get up there, sit down and eat as a team and visit.
“We’ll do something tomorrow before we leave to travel to Missouri as a team.”
Odom also addressed what he thinks of Arkansas defensive tackle Armon Watts who is from St. Louis.
“He’s playing at a high level. Impressed with the way their D-line is playing,” Odom said. “They’re active, strong, aggressive and quick. They have got a good change of direction and then they cause issues in getting tackles for loss, playing on the other line of scrimmage. I know Armon, I knew about in high school and he has had a great career and playing really well right now.”
Arkansas and Missouri will kickoff at 1:30 p.m. on Friday and televised on CBS.