FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas practiced Monday morning in Tampa as they prepare for Saturday’s Outback Bowl against Penn State.
Senior wide receiver Tyson Morris, who is Arkansas’ leading receiver of the ones entering the game, isn’t in Tampa and Sam Pittman spoke on that.
“Tyson is dealing with some issues back home,” Pittman said. “He could get here, just depends on different rulings and things of that nature, tomorrow afternoon all the way we feel the latest would be Thursday. But if everything goes well we feel like he would be able to play in the game.”
With Treylon Burks opting out of the game, Morris enters the game as Arkansas’ leading receiver. He caught 21 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Not COVID related then?
“I’m supposed to not tell you all those things,” Pittman said. “I can just tell you I think that’s a privacy for the kid. I can tell you depending on different rulings we know this afternoon whether he can be here to practice on Wednesday or whether his first real-speed action will be on Saturday. But we feel like, we’re hoping, and we feel like we can get him back.”
Pittman was asked his opinion of all the healty and safety protocols with a few bowls canceled and more possibly headed in that direction.
“If you look at the bowl system you have some opt out situations,” Pittman said. “In other words some guys going to the League and opt not to play in a bowl. Then you have COVID in on that as well now. I think it’s a lot to be said about Coach (James) Franklin and Penn State because I know he’s got some guys going to the NFL as we do. I believe the only way you can get better is play the game. And I believe, and this is me not saying anything negative toward any other program, I’m not their head coach and I don’t know what they’ve got going on in their building, but if we can play, just like LSU last year, we’ve got 110 that can play and I believe Penn State feels the same way. I don’t want to speak for Coach Franklin, but they’re down here they’ve lost some guys to the NFL, but I feel like if there’s any way at all to play the game we should play the game. We owe it to our kids, our fans and our state. So that’s what we’re going to do.”
Pittman described how the practices will go for the Hogs leading up to Saturday’s game and said there won’t be any young players scrimmaging.
“We won’t do any of that,” Pittman said. “But we’re going to go in shells tomorrow. I’m still debating. The thing that worries you the most about your opening game, which this kind of is with a four-week layoff plus is the speed of the game. That’s what really worries you. You’ve got to get ready for the speed of the game.
“Usually you have to do that in some kind of physical manner. So we’re going to put shells on tomorrow, but I’m not going to go good on good which we do every Tuesday and Wednesday during the season except for the Missouri game which was a short week. If it goes well tomorrow and our scout team can give us the look we need without getting that good on good speed. Because usually on a Wednesday, not tomorrow because we’re not going tomorrow, usually we’ll have anywhere from 11 to 13 reps of good on good. As of now the plan is not to that. If it doesn’t go well then Wednesday we will do a few good on good reps just to make sure we’ve got the speed of the game down so we don’t get surprised on Saturday.”
The kickoff is set for 11 a.m. (CT) on Saturday and televised on ESPN2.