FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas continues to prepare for the Outback Bowl against Penn State on New Year’s Day.
On Monday Sam Pittman provided an update on how the Hogs will go about replacing defensive end Tre Williams for the bowl game. He talked about how the defensive ends are basically starting an early audition for the spring and then next fall.
“I think we’ll be fine, first of all,” Pittman said. “But Jashaud Stewart, Eric Thomas would take some of those. I think that would be the guys that would take more than what they normally have. We’ll move Eric Gregory out there some. We have a few more inside players. It depends on if we play more three or four-down front, which we’ll play both, but I think that’s probably who, off the top of my head, would take the extra reps.
“I forgot to mention Zach Williams. I think his reps will amp up, as well. I think it’s going to help us in the long run. Certainly no one wanted what happened to happen, but it did. We handled the situation as quickly as we possibly could. I think you’re 100 percent right. I think because of whom I talked about, those guys will all be back next year, so I think it will be a nice little audition for him.”
Arkansas has an established cornerback in Montaric Brown and two, LaDarrius Bishop and Hudson Clark, who have alternated on the other side. Pittman was asked about his cornerbacks and who has caught his eye there.
“Right now, Mo Brown is one of them,” Pittman said. “I am looking over here at our board so I don’t miss anyone. Hudson Clark is starting for us right now. He and Day Day Bishop are back and forth there. Khari Johnson has worked his way up in that two spot. We like Chase Lowery. He is young, but I think he his going to be a good player for us. Keuan Parker, we like Keuan. He has had a really good few practices. We have an opportunity, (Myles) Slusher is playing a little bit of corner as well. Greg Brooks has played a little bit of corner as well.
“Obviously what we are saying is that we are top heavy at safety than we are at corner so we are trying to find a few more corners or the best corners that we have. We certainly believe we have the best ones out there right now, but we are looking to coach a lot of different guys out there.”
Brown has accepted an invite to the East-West Shrine Game and seems headed to entering the 2022 NFL Draft. Pittman was asked if they’ve had that definite conversation.
“Well, not to me he hasn’t,” Pittman said. “But right now, I don’t know what he’s going to do. He hasn’t come and talked to me, but right now I would say he’s probably not going to come back. But I haven’t had that conversation with him yet.”
Two Signees Practicing
Two recruits who signed with Arkansas this past Wednesday were out there practicing Monday. The two are Greenland defensive lineman JJ Hollingsworth and Shiloh Christian linebacker Kaden Henley.
“We actually had JJ Hollingsworth here today and Kaden Henley here today,” Pittman said. “It was awesome to see them looking around lost. I walked up to them a couple times and said, ‘hey, you see all these guys around here? They were lost, too. Just kind of fit in where you get in.’ They ran scout team today and went through individual. It was great to have them here. It’s fun to have those guys here. They have no clue what’s going on, but they’re so excited to be in Arkansas here. Yeah, they were both here today.”
Jalen Catalon In The Spring
Redshirt sophomore safety Jalen Catalon has already announced he intends to return for his junior season. But coming off shoulder surgery will he be able to practice in the spring?
“I think he would be ready to go through spring ball,” Pittman said. “We’ll certainly be cautious with him. We wouldn’t put him in any live scrimmages or anything of that nature. We might put a green jersey on him, a little bit like we did Hayden Henry last year in spring. We kind of took all the hitting off of him because he was trying to get his shoulders healthy, too, but I believe he can be out there all the time except maybe live scrimmages.”