Notes from Kickoff Luncheon

Chad Morris addressed a crowd of about 900 today at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers today. A few notes:

  • Tight end Cheyenne O’Grady will be back for the first game, Morris said. Left tackle Colton Jackson was also in attendance wearing a walking boot on his right foot.

  • Toward the beginning of his speech, Morris said, “We’re going to play better football in Year 2. I promise you that. … We’re growing this program into something special, and we’re building a winning program that will sustain over time.”

  • There were three scouts at Thursday’s practice, Morris said, who asked him about guys like Sosa Agim and others off the field. Morris told the scouts that Agim and a few older players are truly investing in the younger players on the roster, which speaks to their maturity.

  • Kam Curl and Joe Foucha have grown to become real leaders. Foucha is having one of the best fall camps Morris has seen. Corners Jarques McClellion and Montaric Brown got thrown into the fire last year, and their experience is really going to pay off this season.

  • Darren McFadden was in the building, and Morris said since the team is playing in uniforms from his era that he hopes it can play like him, too. Devwah Whaley and Chase Hayden have been professionals, and Rakeem Boyd is among the best talents in the SEC. On transfer RB Trelon Smith, Morris said there is no better scout team running back in the nation. He even said Smith reminds him of another No. 22 who “wore a star on his helmet.” So, no pressure there, kid.

  • Offensively, it starts with the quarterbacks room. “We’ve got guys there that can make things happen,” he said. Morris also joked that he wasn’t going to name a starting QB at the event, and told everyone they could sit back, relax and enjoy their meal.

  • At receiver, Mike Woods and De’Vion Warren have had their best camps. He also hit on freshman TQ Jackson’s speed, saying, “If I was as fast as TQ I’d never own a car.”

  • On the offensive line, it all starts with Colton Jackson, he said. Myron Cunningham is going to make an immediate impact.

  • Special teams: Competition between Reid Bauer and Sam Loy at punter has been good. Connor Limpert has been great. Long snapper Jordan Silver, Morris said, has a great mullet, so he has to be good at his job.

  • In closing, Morris said, “The culture has never been stronger, and I’ve never been more excited for the season to start.”