What Chad Morris said on his radio show ahead of North Texas

By Clay Henry

Arkansas’ players will add a new twist to an old tradition Saturday.

Coach Chad Morris encouraged fans to come to the Hog Walk through Lot 44 before the game when players exit the buses to come to the locker room. It’s usually two hours before kickoff, but Morris said specific times for Saturday’s walk would be announced on Twitter sometime before the game.

“We’ll get the word out,” Morris said Wednesday night on his radio show. “It’s important. Our players will take out their ear buds and interact with fans. I’ve encouraged them to sign autographs. It’s OK to stop them and talk to them.”

Depth will take a jump in the offensive line after Colton Jackson and Shane Clenin returned to practice this week after time off because of injuries. Morris expects both to play this week against North Texas. Morris said it’s worth noting the big change in numbers in the offensive line.

“We almost had a celebration this week when we had 10 scholarship offensive linemen at practice,” Morris said. “We are excited that we will probably get Colton a couple of series. We get Shane back, too.”

Jackson has been out since July back surgery. Clenin started the first game at left tackle, Jackson’s spot the last two seasons. Clenin has worked this week at tackle and center.

“Colton worked with the scout team today to get some live hits,” Morris said. “He also worked with our first and second (offense). With 10 in the O-line, we will get some continuity back.”

Morris was asked if altitude played a factor in the Colorado State comeback when the Rams rallied from a 27-9 deficit to score the game’s final 25 points for a 34-27 victory.

“I never make excuses,” Morris said. “It’s on the head coach. I’m going to get it fixed.

“What happened is that we had their team backed up inside their 10-yard line and the quarterback scrambled for a first down on third-and-3. They went on a 96-yard drive. We had a penalty on a third-and-long incomplete pass.

“Then we did not give the defense a chance to get off the field. We only ran eight plays in the fourth quarter. They ran 25. That’s what happened.”

Morris said defensive end Randy Ramsey should play some this week after missing most of August camp and the first two games with a hamstring injury.

“We had to move (McTelvin) Sosa Agim outside to generate some pass rush,” said Morris, who noted Agim’s play was solid.

“Randy is back this week. We need that dynamic pass rusher. Armon Watts is playing well inside and we just have to keep getting better.”

Morris was asked about playing a North Texas team that he knows well. His SMU teams played North Texas the last three seasons and won all three games.

“We are very familiar and I’ve known their coach, Seth Littrell, since he was offensive coordinator at North Texas,” Morris said. “He’s got his best team, very solid.

“But it’s about the Arkansas Razorbacks. Yes, they are good and they have a very hot quarterback. But it’s about the Razorbacks and that’s our message, and how we finish.”

Morris said the week has gone well so far.

“We’ve been challenged,” he said. “We’ve faced adversity. Every time we’ve challenged them, it’s always about how they respond. The last three days they’ve done nothing but lock in at practice.”

I’m not one that likes players having earplugs during the Hog Walk.

The fans make an effort to show up and acknowledging them whether it’s just a smile or a wave or what have you would be good. I like what Morris is doing here.

Earplugs in any social setting is an affront.
It says: I am not interested in what you have to say.

Or it says I’m dialed in to what I need to do to be my best and I don’t need to be distracted right now.

I wore earbuds before my events to get ready and focused.

I’m ok with them being focused. I’m not ok with it being done for another purpose. I suspect there’s a mix during the hog walk.

There’s a time a place to interact with the fans and a time and place to get focused. I don’t know what time the hog walk is, so I don’t really have an opinion on that.

I see both sides and thus offered a neutral perspective.

Hog Walk is 2+ hours before kickoff. Plenty of time to get completely dialed in once they get inside the building.

I think interacting with the fans will be a good thing. Only holdback that I could see is the autographs, if they get out of control. But Swine’s right; there’s plenty of time to get focused in the locker room.