FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas held its second practice of the preseason on Saturday and it was held with a downpour at times.
A couple of key Razorbacks were missing from Saturday’s drills. Junior wide receiver Jordan Jones has a family issue he’s tending to at this time. Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Noah Gatlin wasn’t practicing either after suffering a knee injury during Friday’s practice. Both Jones and Gatlin were working with the second team on Friday.
During Saturday’s practice, redshirt freshman Ryan Winkel moved out to right tackle behind Dalton Wagner. Winkel was second-team right guard on Friday. Freshman walk-on Austin Nix appeared to have moved into the second-team right guard spot behind Shane Clenin. Nix is from Arkansas High School in Texarkana and was with the team last spring. He drew praise from Dustin Fry at that time.
Fry has several more players to work with this fall than he had last season. Chad Morris is pleased about that since Fry was really put into a difficult situation last year with the lack of numbers. He and his staff corrected the issue in recruiting.
“Well, we did,” Morris said of adding depth. “Losing Hjalte (Froholdt) and those guys, but the depth last year was just an Achilles heel for us. I mean, we didn’t have the depth. We had to cross-train so many guys, and when you do that, and you have to do so many, it’s okay to do a couple, but when you got to do so many, it’s hard to get really good at something. Moving forward, that’s why we recruited the way we did.
“There is no doubt that our offensive line will be better this year. It’ll be better from a depth standpoint and obviously when you have depth, you have competition. Ty Clary’s got a lot of reps underneath him. We expect him to be a dominant player for us. Colton Jackson is another guy. The key is keeping them as healthy as you possibly can and get your work in and be ready to go for the season. But we should be better, without a doubt.”
With Clary at center, he had issues with some snaps at times last season. How did he look in practice this fall?
“I thought our snaps were good today on the field that I was on and Ty was on our field that I was on,” Morris said. “I didn’t recognize anything that I would have stopped and blew the whistle over.”
On Saturday during the 20-minute open window for media to watch practice, the pecking order for the quarterbacks was Ben Hicks, Nick Starkel, John Stephen Jones, KJ Jefferson and Jack Lindsey. Jefferson showed a live arm and it’s pretty obvious watching him why the Hogs made him a priority in recruiting.
A player who looked good on Saturday morning was junior punter Sam Loy. He transferred to Arkansas from Colorado and is expected to have a strong shot at winning the job this fall. He was All-SEC Freshman at Vanderbilt in 2016.
Arkansas will return to the practice fields on Monday at 10:05 a.m. Media Day will be Saturday afternoon from 2:15-3:15 p.m.
The Razorbacks open the season on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 3 p.m. against Portland State in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.