Hogs: QB Storey goes under center, reacts to first UA practices; notes
FAYETTEVILLE - A new "Storey" line developed in Arkansas' final week of on-campus practices for their Dec. 29 Advocare Texas Bowl date against the Texas Longhorns.
Arkansas HC BRET BIELEMA
Ty Storey, the heralded quarterback just graduated from Charleston High, has practiced with the Razorbacks since Saturday and will practice with them through Friday morning before the team flies to Houston to partake in bowl festivities Friday afternoon and evening and light bowl practices there Saturday and Sunday. Just one week ago, Storey won Class 3A Offensive Player of the Year at the 11th Farm Bureau Awards, produced by Hooten's Arkansas Football.
Storey, tight end Will Gragg of Dumas, defensive tackle Daytriean Dean of Fort Smith Northside and center Zach Rogers of Carrolton, Texas, all December high school graduates who signed financial aid agreements to enroll on scholarship for the spring semester, could practice after signing the FAA agreements that allows practices on campus once the UA's fall semester ceased last week.
NCAA rules forbid the FAA signees from practicing with the team at a bowl.
ONLY NEW STORY
Only Storey practices now.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said Monday that Gragg awaits NCAA paperwork approval and likely will participate unless clearance is granted too late to make it worthwhile.
Dean is in Fort Smith recovering from shoulder surgery, Bielema said.
Rogers is in Fayetteville but cannot practice. He mends from the broken ankle ending his senior high school season in the third game, but hopes to practice in spring drills. Meanwhile, Rogers attends meetings and observes practice.
Bielema has exercised early "snap" judgment on Storey, always taking shotgun snaps in a hurry-up, no-huddle offense at Charleston.
"Seeing the improvement in him from Day One to Day Two it was pretty obvious that he has never really taken a snap under center," Bielema said. "So it was kind of neat just to see him evolve and do that and have some success."
Even huddling is a different story for Storey.
"We never huddled in high school so that is something totally new to me," Storey said before Monday's practice. "It was pretty cool, kind of slows it down, lets you catch your breath a little bit."
With 13 Razorback seniors receiving degrees in last Saturday's UA graduation ceremonies, Bielema gave all the veteran players Saturday off and just worked developmental players in a practice quarterbacked by redshirt freshman Rafe Peavey of Bolivar, Mo., a December high school graduate last year, and Storey.
A full contingent other than senior tight end AJ Derby, late November arthroscopic knee surgery and questionable for the game, practiced Sunday and Monday.
Storey said the veterans and junior starting QB Brandon Allen, redshirt freshman backup Austin Allen and Peavey have made him feel welcome.
"It is good to just get these few practices in to get used to everybody around me and all this," Storey said. "It is definitely a great jump start so I don't have to come in during the spring and start all over."
While obviously wishing he could practice, Rogers said merely attending meetings and watching practice "definitely helps."
"Just getting used to being up here on my own," Rogers said, "I am able to go in on meetings and try to learn as much about the offense as I can right now so that way I can come into January and get rolling."
FOCUSING ON TEXAS
While media flocked Monday to the new, veterans prepped for Texas.
"I have been very excited about our kids and the approach that they have had," Bielema said. "Yesterday's practice encompassing the whole fall might have been one of our better practices just tempo, clarity."
Bielema said the fan excitement of renewing the old Arkansas-Texas rivalry from their legendary Southwest Conference days, particularly when Frank Broyles coached Arkansas and the late Darrell Royal coached Texas, is contagious to the team.
Second-year coach Bielema said he caught the bug whole Hog informing Broyles, turning 90 the day after Christmas, that Arkansas had just accepted the Texas Bowl bid.
"When I heard the reaction from Coach Broyles' voice that gave me chills," Bielema said. "It gave me a full circle of what it means to play Texas to a certain generation and how much has to be carried forward to our players."
BRIEFEST BOWL STAY
Just three and a half days, including the game at a bowl site, are the fewest for Bielema whose seven Wisconsin teams played in January bowls or later December bowls.
Most of those teams got the chance to be home for Christmas, which Monday's kickoff doesn't allow.
So rather than travel Christmas Day and arrive in Houston with most everything closed, Bielema has a post-practice Christmas plan Thursday for the Razorbacks to bowl at Fast Lanes in the afternoon and be given free movie tickets Thursday night.
Monday marked the Razorbacks' last media availability until their arrival in Houston.