The Razorbacks had not made a first down against Texas A&M when C.J. O’Grady came in at tight end in the second quarter and with two catches provided 53 of the 75 yards on Arkansas’ first touchdown drive in an SEC game this season. Nobody was any happier about that than the team’s quarterback.
“Yeah, he’s a game changer as you could see,” Ty Story said following Tuesday’s workout for the Alabama game. “He provided a huge spark for us.”
“Obviously you see what kind of a weapon he can be with the ball in his hands,” offensive coordinator Joe Craddock affirmed.
Coaches on two different coaching staffs at Arkansas have acknowledged O’Grady’s talents but he’s been in and out of the doghouse with both. Coaches and players alike on this team are hopeful that junior from Fayetteville has turned a corner this time but they have also learned to be cautious when talking about it.
“Yeah, he’s starting to turn it around,” teammate Austin Cantrell acknowledged. “I wouldn’t say it’s a corner. It’s like more of a obtuse angle. But yeah, he’s getting there.”
“He did everything right last week,” Craddock revealed. “He was on the positive report at study hall. His play on Saturday was a direct reflection of his week and how that lead to game. If you do the right things off the field there’s a direct corelation on the field.”
“I’m not ready to put him on the pedestal just yet,” Craddock added. “I’m hoping that he continues to do the right things. We’ve got our arm around him, really trying to pull him through the knothole and make sure we get him to the game on Saturday the right way.”
O’Grady sat out of Tuesday’s practice, reportedly with a case of strep throat. But Storey was encouraged that O’Grady did show up in street clothes and watched intently throughout the workout.
“Yeah, he was a little under the weather today,” Storey said of O’Grady, “but hopefully we can get him out tomorrow. I think it was good. You could definitely see he was out there trying to still focus on learning and seeing what we’re doing this week. It’s good to have him around. I’m glad he at least made it to practice.”
Storey and his teammates have moved the football well at times the last two weeks against two of the better defenses in the SEC. This week the challenge continues against number one Alabama. The Tide is more of an offensive team this season and has shown itself to be vulnerable at times defensively, especially through the air, giving up almost 200 yards per game passing the first five weeks of the season. Which might be one reason why it was important for O’Grady to watch Tuesday’s practice intently even though he was not dressed out.