Practice notes and observations - Oct. 23

Arkansas continued preparing for its trip to No. 1 Alabama on Saturday. A few notes and observations from the 20-minute viewing window:

  • Second consecutive day I did not think the Razorbacks, particularly at the quarterback spot, looked sharp. Like Tuesday, the wind could have played a factor in a lot of the throws, but not many tight spirals from Ben Hicks and Nick Starkel. A few receivers were visibly frustrated with the way things were going. They, too, dropped more passes than I remember in previous days. Just didn’t like the body language. Mike Woods made the best catch I saw when QBs and receivers worked on air. He turned his body toward the middle of the field on a seam route and hauled in a pass from Hicks with only his right hand.

  • Senior left tackle Colton Jackson was not present for the workout, and neither was left guard Austin Capps. Jackson injured his back in the loss to Auburn on Saturday, and Capps is in concussion protocol. He is the ninth Arkansas player to be in concussion protocol since fall camp, and the eighth on offense. In their place, Myron Cunningham was at left tackle and Kirby Adcock was at left guard during offensive line group work.

  • Also along the offensive line, I saw Shane Clenin taking reps at left guard and Ryan Winkel at right tackle. Joe Craddock said on Monday the staff would take a look at a couple of different guys at left guard this week with Capps likely out. Morris was asked today about Clenin, who in fall camp looked to be pushing for a starting job.

“He’s No. 2 on our depth chart right now and has worked some guard, worked some center as well,” he said. “He’s just ready for that opportunity.” (Asked if he had simply been passed up) “Right now that’s kind of where we’re at with it, but he continues to battle and get better every day.”

  • Tight end Cheyenne O’Grady will be Arkansas’ offensive captain this weekend. O’Grady has led the Razorbacks in receiving each of the last three games and tied the school record for touchdowns by a tight end with 11. Morris on naming O’Grady the captain for Saturday:

“I mean, when you turn the tape on this guy makes plays all over the field. I think he’s earned that and deserves that. … It really isn’t (a surprise that he’s had a solid season). Just an unbelievable talent. A guy that continues to get better. Really challenged C.J. over the last year and a half of how good can he be? How good does he want to be? He’s doing a really good job of pushing himself as we’re continuing to grow him.”

Continuing on the captain talk, Morris said the team will vote on a permanent offensive captain “at some point in November.”

  • I don’t think anyone was expecting it, but Morris did not name a starting quarterback. He added that the staff will “more than likely” have the same plan as last week in terms of naming one. Ben Hicks said after the Auburn game he was told Friday night he would start.

  • Saturday will be Morris’ first time in Tuscaloosa. He said he is looking forward to the trip.

“I think any competitor in that building right there that has competitive juices and is always up for a challenge, this is a challenge for us. They’ve been the measuring stick. See where your program is compared to that. I know we played well last year against them at times. We’re going to get out there this week, our guys will be prepared and they will have a lot of energy. We’re going to go play well this week.”

  • It was announced on Tuesday that Morris has been selected for the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame. He said he received the phone call about three weeks ago and was flattered.

“I’m obviously very honored. There’s so many people along the way that you want to thank and a lot of great players I’ve been around and great coaches that helped get to that point.”

  • Arkansas will wear red helmets, white jerseys and white pants at Alabama, according to the team’s Twitter account.

Did JSJ take any first team snaps again? How did he look compared to Hicks and Starkel today?

While I have no illusions of hanging with the Tide on Saturday, the last two days practice reports do not give much hope for inspired performance. So many fans, the ones who haven’t given up already, are looking for something to give even an ounce of optimism. Still hoping!!

I think if I was a QB at AR this week my practice might not be sharp enough to start Saturday either :slight_smile:

Yes. Like yesterday, Jones was running with the first team as we were leaving the practice fields. Several balls from QBs fluttered today. Nick Starkel, I thought, looked best. Jones was OK. Not a lot of zip on his throws.

Interesting. Is it normal for the other quarterbacks to get snaps with the first team, or does this mean there is a likely chance that JSJ starts this week?

Hicks and Starkel typically get first-team reps. Chad Morris said today, though, they have worked quarterbacks outside of Hicks/Starkel with the first team some for 2-3 weeks. I do not expect Jones to start Saturday.

Scottie, I am now thinking back to maybe 2000 or 2001 when we were blown out by TN or someone and we were down to our 3rd string QB. At some point, Matt Jones came along and turned the season around as a freshman. If Kentucky can use a receiver to run the offense, why can’t we just cash in the chips and let KJ give it a go. As they say, put the ball in the hands of a playmaker.

Why burn a year of KJ’s eligibility this late in the year? After the Bama game, I believe you will see a lot of KJ, the last 4 games.

Me too.

It’s possible that as long as we have hope of a bowl game, he might not see KJ, but if/when that is gone, we’ll see a lot of him in my opinion.

We were all waiting for Connor Noland to see the field last year, thinking he was the answer to all of our troubles. What makes us think KJ is any different?

It’s gone General… They are just grasping at straws up there. And have been. Just hoping something will stick to the wall.

For me, I’ve been saying all season to a make Morris’ system work at it’s highest level, he needs a DT QB which Jefferson is.

I’m not promising he is 100% the answer, but I’d love to see this offense finally with a DT and I think that would also relieve some pressure on the Oline.