HOGS: Freshmen to invade Oxford; notes
FAYETTEVILLE - Senior Jamario Bell could not practice Tuesday with an injury after Arkansas coach Chad Morris and defensive coordinator John Chavis projected on Monday that he likely would replace injured Dorian Gerald as the starting defensive end in Saturday’s SEC opener at Ole Miss.
After it was discovered that Gerald strained an artery in his neck during Arkansas’ 20-13 season opening non-conference victory over Portland State, Bell replaced him most of the game’s remainder at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Bell, mentioned Monday as somewhat injured by Morris, is presumed to play against Ole Miss.
True freshman Mataio Soli filled the Gerald/Bell vacated first-team end spot Tuesday with senior Gabe Richardson starting again at the other defensive end.
Senior left offensive guard Austin Capps of Star City, also injured during the Portland State game but listed to start, did not practice Tuesday.
True freshman Ricky Stromberg replaced Capps in Tuesday’s first-team guard combo with junior college transfer Myron Cunningham, the starting right guard against Portland State.
Senior Mackey Award candidate Cheyenne O’Grady of Fayetteville, withheld vs. Portland State because of mid-August arthroscopic knee surgery, practiced full tilt in full pads Tuesday and is good to go against Ole Miss.
ROOKIES MEET PRESS
Since Morris doesn’t allow true freshmen to talk to media until they’ve played in a game, starting nickel back Greg Brooks and starting receivers Trey Knox and Treylon Burks (In Craven Whitlow photo above) met the press Tuesday for the first time.
Burks of Warren and Knox of Murfreesboro, Tenn., started simultaneously their first game as Razorbacks. Burks led Arkansas receivers with three catches for 52 yards. Knox’s one catch, 38 yards, was the game’s longest.
“It wasn't really like getting starting assignments,” Burks said. “We had to earn it. We had to come in and work every day. They didn't give us nothing. We had to come out and work and push ourselves to be better and push the older players to be better.”
How much of that was a learning experience and how much better will you be this next Saturday?
“I mean it was my first time playing since last year so that was a little nerve-wrecking,” Burks said. “So other than that, we have been as a team working on a lot getting better on what we didn't do last week. So I think it's gonna be a great week.”
Knox was asked about starting with Burks.
“It shows what we have coming in the future and just to get our feet wet this year, just to know we have a couple more years playing in the SEC,” Knox said.
Knox voiced confidence the Arkansas offense that generated 395 yards against Portland State can produce more than 20 points at Ole Miss.
“I think we’re going to put a lot of points up in this game.” Knox said, citing offensive coordinator Joe Craddock. “Craddock’s been preaching. He has a great plan, and I believe it. After watching the film and just last week’s game, I think we can go in there and really dominate on the offensive side of the ball.”
Brooks was asked about playing his first SEC road game.
“Definitely a different atmosphere,” Brooks said. “We’re going to Ole Miss, I think, yeah way different. Can’t wait to see what it’s like for my first SEC game. Really see what the SEC is talking about, see all the hype. I really want to see that.”