FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — On Wednesday, Chad Morris addressed the injury situation including three surgeries and timeline for getting those players back.
The injury list includes several key players include tight end Cheyenne O’Grady, offensive tackle Colton Jackson, offensive guard Austin Capps and others.
“CJ should be back in about two weeks we’re anticipating,” Morris said. “He had just a knee sprain. Austin Capps same thing. Something that had been bothering him a little bit. He should be back by the first game. Koilan Jackson, Koilan may be three and a half weeks or so, it’s a reoccurring (meant recurring) injury, from the same knee. He’ll be fine. Just going in and cleaning a few things up. So we should get him back as well. We opted to go ahead and do all three of these now to keep them from lingering – where we’re at in fall camp, especially with all these other guys behind them getting reps.”
Morris has some other players who are in protective jerseys, but are practicing.
“Pac-Man (Jarques McClellion) is great,” Morris said. “He had an interception right here in the two-minute drill today. He was in green today. A lot of it is precautionary and making sure they understand that when you’re in a green jersey you’re not hitting and nobody’s hitting you. But he’s getting some good work in.
“T.J. Hammonds. We expect T.J. back any day. It was a concussion. But we expect him back. Nothing that we hadn’t already been through his protocol. Noah Gatlin. We know Noah’s status. We’ve talked about that. Colton Jackson was in yellow today, just from a rest standpoint from a foot injury that he’s had. But we just pulled him back today. And Britto Tutt, same thing with Britto.”
What about Greg Brooks who hasn’t been out there a couple of days until today.
“Greg hyperextended his thumb,” Morris said. “He’s back out there. We’d kept him out, I believe it was Monday and Tuesday. He got a little bit of work yesterday. He was in green today.”
Filling in For O’Grady
With O’Grady out, Morris talked about some of the tight ends who are in line to play.
“Well, it was good to have Hudson Henry out there today,” Morris said. “He had been back the last couple days, but he was in full go today. So that was good to get him back rolling.
“Chase Harrell continues to impress us at the tight end position. Grayson Gunter’s having a really good camp as well. Blake Kern. So those are some guys that are really stepping up.”
You just mentioned Chase Harrell and Grayson Gunter which one would be the starter right now?
“We would probably open up with Gunter, Grayson right now,” Morris said. “But again, he may get the first play and Chase in for the second play. Probably a lot depends on the play.”
Morris had challenged O’Grady shortly after practices opened and according to the Razorback coach the tight end had responded well.
“I think yesterday, actually the last couple of days, he’s been running back with the 1s,” Morris said. “He’s responded fine. I think that’s been the biggest thing that we’ve seen. We felt like he would, so he responded, and I think he got caught up in a 1-on-1 situation out there and got his legs tangled up and that’s kind of what happened there. He’ll be back, he’ll be ready to go, he’ll be better than ever.”
The takeaway part of it. The defense seemed to be getting a lot early on, but Joe (Craddock) came in and gave us the stats and it didn’t seem like it was as bad. Seems like the last couple of days you haven’t gotten as many so do you feel better about not turning the ball over and getting fewer turnovers (on defense)?
“We’re getting a lot of reps,” Morris said. “That’s one thing. You can do the numbers and do the math and all that. Really the way I look at it is it’s one play there. Did you turn the ball over or not? Yes or no. We don’t want to have any turnovers. That’s our goal is zero turnovers. Defense’s goal is to have three turnovers. So somebody is coming off that field not winning a belt.
The last two days when the offense doesn’t have any turnovers that’s a win. I thought we looked as good offensively yesterday in some of the red zone and protecting the football as we’ve looked since we’ve been here. Today was a little bit different.
“We had three turnovers today. Two of them were in big moments. So the defense won the belt today. It was great competition. That’s what we want. Great teaching times and an opportunity in our team meeting to pull the situation back up and talk in what to do in those situations. I know we’re getting a lot of reps. Bottom line turn the ball over and you’re not gonna win too many football games. Create turnovers and you win a lot of football games.”
Who had the turnovers today?
“As far as the turnovers, I don’t know what happened in a 9-versus-9, who the quarterback was at that point. Right here at the end, Ben (Hicks) had one and the third one was Nick (Starkel), so I think all three of them. I think John Stephen (Jones) had one, Ben had one and Nick had one.”