HOGS live grind-it-out week
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas sophomore starting cornerback Montaric “Buster” Brown (leg injury) of Ashdown practiced Tuesday in full pads after missing the Razorbacks’ 31-24 loss Saturday night to San Jose State.
Freshman receiver Treylon Burks of Warren and senior left offensive tackle Colton Jackson of Conway, both missing the San Jose State game because of concussion protocol following injuries during the Sept. 17 victory over Colorado State, worked Tuesday in green limited practice jerseys.
Brown, certainly, and Burks and Jackson should play in Saturday’s 11 a.m. ESPN-televised game against No. 23 Texas A&M at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Arkansas wide receivers Trey Knox, the freshman leading the Razorbacks with 299 receiving yards on 21 catches, and De’Vion Warren, the Hogs’ leading kick returner, and junior reserve running back Chase Hayden were not spotted early in Tuesday’s closed practice.
Knox hasn’t missed a game despite a lingering early-season hip injury. Neither has Warren, in concussion protocol, nor Hayden, also injured last Saturday, finished the game active against San Jose State.
Now on the active roster after serving a four-game suspension, junior running back/receiver T.J. Hammonds practiced Tuesday at receiver.
Starting sophomore linebacker Bumper Pool, playing against San Jose State after missing some of last week’s practices because of a bruised clavicle, worked Tuesday in a green limited practice jersey.
With remnants of Tuesday’s day long rain on the practice fields, and the Razorbacks playing indoors Saturday at AT&T Stadium, they practiced Tuesday inside the Walker Pavilion.
Arkansas starting quarterback Nick Starkel (in Craven Whitlow photo above) and starting running back Rakeem Boyd are ex-Aggies. Graduate transfer Starkel achieved a bachelor’s degree at A&M during his three years in College Station, Texas. After redshirting in 2016 and playing in seven games with five starts in 2017, Starkel transferred without losing eligibility since Kellen Mond became then A&M new coach Jimbo Fisher’s starter.
Meanwhile, Boyd redshirted as a freshman at A&M before transferring in 2017 to Independence (Kan.) Community College then to Arkansas last year. Both Starkel and Boyd are juniors in football eligibility.
Arkansas defensive coordinator John “Chief” Chavis and defensive backfield coach Ron Cooper, respectively, were A&M’s defensive coordinator and defensive backfield coach when Starkel and Boyd were Aggies.
Asked about Chavis, Arkansas senior defensive tackle McTelvin “Sosa” Agim replied, “For he and Coach Cooper, I definitely feel like it’s a big game for them. He knows most of the guys in that locker room. He, Rakeem Boyd, Nick. I feel like it’s a big game for all of them. I feel like they really want it.”
Sophomore cornerback Jarques McClellion recalled the defense’s effort last year when the eventual 2-10 Hogs took the eventual 9-4 Aggies to the wire before losing 24-17.
“We played our hearts out,” McClellion said. “We made sure we played for him (Chavis). We made sure we executed and did our jobs. That what’s made that game so special and so competitive. It should be the same this year.”
BACK IN FOCUS
The Razorbacks, 21-point underdogs to A&M, did not have last year’s A&M focus last week against San Jose State.
And lest any forget, they get constant reminders.
“The coaches are on us,” Agim said. “The team captains are on us, making sure we’re ready and focused to get back to it.”
Senior linebacker De’Jon “Scoota” Harris said the Hogs can’t dwell on the San Jose State game but must learn from it.
“That game’s over with,” Harris said. “All of our focus is on Texas A&M. My message to most of the younger guys on the team is it’s going to be a grind-it-out type week. No excuses. I don’t really want to hear no complaining, especially the way we played last weekend.”