FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas is practicing again today as they prepare for Saturday’s big scrimmage and then season opener on Aug. 31.
The Razorbacks are in full pads for the second day in a row. They will have a lot of contact today before Chad Morris pulls it back some on Friday with Saturday’s scrimmage looming.
Arkansas continues to go without true freshman tight end Hudson Henry and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols. They are in concussion protocol.
The first 20 minutes were open to the media again today and it started off with the Attack Drill in the first period. Special teams was the second period and then some individual work the next two periods.
In period four, the quarterbacks were throwing to the running backs. Sophomore transfer Trelon Smith, junior T.J. Hammonds, junior Chase Hayden and junior Rakeem Boyd were showing good hands among the running backs. Smith transferred to Arkansas from Arizona State and isn’t eligible to play this season due to the NCAA transfer rule.
One thing that is noticeable on the practice fields this fall as opposed to last year is the number of offensive linemen. Last season, Dustin Fry’s options were very limited due to injuries and similar issues. This year the group has a lot of depth even after losing redshirt freshman offensive tackle Noah Gatlin the first practice with a torn ACL. First-team right guard Shane Clenin talked about the increased numbers on the offensive line this season.
“It’s a lot different,” Clenin said. “You go to a meeting and it’s full. It’s wild to think about. I don’t think we’ve had this many linemen since I was a true freshman. Which is crazy. It’s good to know that you have bodies there to get reps, and it’s good to not only watch yourself in film, but to be able to watch others and teach yourself off of others. So it’s good not only for me, but for everybody on the line just to kind of learn from each other.”
Another room on the team that has added some talent is wide receiver. Deon Stewart and the older receivers have taken notice of the four scholarship newcomers.
“All the young guys, they’re more comfortable now, so they’re all out there making plays,” Stewart said. “That is gonna make all of us older guys be like, ‘Okay, these guys are really here trying to play.’ That’s just making everybody in the room better because we’re all competing.”
Sophomore safety Joe Foucha who is playing next to junior Kamren Curl at safety is looking forward to Saturday’s scrimmage.
“It’s very big because you know we’re going to be live,” Foucha said. “Guys are going to fly around. It’s not like how practices have been going. We’ve been kind of lightening it up with the contact, being physical and stuff like that, but tomorrow is going to be like our first day live. The scrimmage Saturday is going to have us running around, head on fire, stuff like that.”
Arkansas will hold a closed practice on Friday morning. The scrimmage on Saturday will also be completely closed to the media. It’s expected to start at 10:05 a.m.
Former Arkansas defensive end Brandon Lewis, who lettered from 2013-16, was present at Thursday morning’s practice.