Hogs: Injuries mount on O line; notes

Hogs: Injuries mount on O line; notes

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FAYETTEVILLE - Deion Malone’s season-ending knee surgery is the latest setback for Arkansas’ offensive line.

Malone is the 6-3, 293-pound senior and former transfer who redshirted in 2016 but failed to crack the lineup in 2017 when he moved to the defensive line as a fourth-year junior.

“Deion is out and will be out the rest of the year,” Arkansas head coach Chad Morris (in R Sharp photo) said after Tuesday’s practice. “He had season-ending surgery last night on his knee. It (the injury) was in a pass-rush drill in practice.”

The Razorbacks, who start practicing in full pads Wednesday, already have lost junior left tackle Colton Jackson until midseason (July back surgery) and likely will redshirt freshman lineman Ryan Winkel (injured pectoral muscle lifting weights). Third-year sophomore center Dylan Hays is recovering from a back injury, while reserve junior guard Jalen Merrick appears to be under concussion protocol.

“It’s an area we are already struggling with a little bit  in some depth issues,” Morris said. “But again that’s why they call it coaching. We’ll continue to bring guys along.”

CENTERS ALL WET
With Hays out, redshirt freshman Shane Clenin, previously a tackle or guard, and sophomore Ty Clary, lettering at guard last year as a true freshman, have worked worked on the first and second units at center, shotgun snapping in Morris’ Spread.

Both were involved in a planned wet ball drill Monday and a natural one Tuesday when it rained during a portion of practice.

“We have been inconsistent in snapping the ball," Morris said. "We’ve been good. We just haven’t had the consistency we want. Some are here, some are here, some are low. We want that consistent right in the numbers. We are woking on that and moving guys around, but you expected that and it is not really a concern of mine right now.”

GUIDRY, STEWART AILING
Backup defensive tackle Briston Guidry (knee) also has not been practicing.

“We hope to get Jalen back in the next few days, early next week,” Morris said. “Briston is still kind of day-to-day right now with his knee. We anticipate he will be back, hopefully before the end of next week. As far as center right now, Dylan (strained back) is a guy that has been day-to-day as well. He started out the first few practices  and we kept him out the last two so hopefully we can get him back in and get him going the last part of this week.”

Junior receiver Deon Stewart (hamstring) also didn’t practice Tuesday.

DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS
During the first 20 minutes of practice, outside linebacker Derrick Munson stripped the ball from running back T.J. Hammonds. Backup safety Montaric Brown broke up a pass he nearly caught for what would have been a pick-6 touchdown.

“He (Brown) is having a really good camp through four practices,” Morris said. “The play you’re referring to early on in practice just reaffirms the type of camp he’s having. Obviously, there’s things you’ve got to do to continue to get better and improve, but he’s having a good camp so far. We’ll see how it goes.”

FULL TILT
The Razorbacks have fulfilled their NCAA-mandated two practices in helmets and shorts and two practices in helmets and shoulders. Hard full-pads practices loom Wednesday and Thursday and a tapered practice Friday lightened to lead into Saturday’s closed scrimmage.

“We’ll get out there and see what our young guys got,” Morris said. “I want to see a lot of competition going on tomorrow. I want to see a lot of excitement, guys flying around. A lot of energy is really what I’m looking for.”

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