Arkansas coach Chad Morris met with the media prior to Wednesday’s practice. The Hogs will be home on Saturday to take on an undefeated North Texas team.
Arkansas is coming off a disappointing 34-27 loss to Colorado State on Saturday night in Fort Collins, but Morris liked what he saw from his team on Tuesday.
“Obviously back on the field yesterday in pads and it was a really good day,,” Morris said. “I loved our focus, the energy level from when those guys walked out of that locker room even while stretch and flex. It was definitely on a different level. You felt a different vibe with this team.
‘That’s what you ask for. I said it all week long that’s what you want to know is how are you going to respond when adversity happens and so I thought we’ve learned a lot about our football team. We’ll continue to see what today will bring. But overall yesterday I was pleased with the way they came out.”
That was a stark contrast from the Tuesday practice following the 55-20 victory over Eastern Illinois.
“Yeah, last Tuesday compared to this Tuesday was night-and-day different,” Morris said. “The guys were definitely locked in a lot more. That happens. Every time we’ve asked them to respond through camp or whether it was spring ball.
“Maybe we didn’t come out and have the standard that we wanted to set they’ve always responded. I didn’t expect anything different when these guys came out. Starting Sunday they came out with a different edge. These kids care and they understand for this program to move forward we’re gonna have to learn and sometimes you learn through hard times.”
Senior defensive end Randy Ramsey hasn’t played this season, but that could change on Saturday. Ramsey has been missed since he’s the best pass rusher on the team.
“We anticipate him playing,” Morris said. “He actually worked out yesterday and went through the entire practice and did some good things. Kinda working at a pace to get him back. How many snaps does that mean Saturday I don’t know. But we anticipate him being back and able to make an impact up front.”
Regardless of Ramsey’s situation, Morris expects McTelvin Agim to continue what he did against the Rams where he started at defensive end. He was at defensive tackle against EIU in the opener.
“You will see Sosa outside a lot more this week,” Morris said. “You may see him slide in some, but more so on the edge. You could see a mixture of it.”
Senior linebacker Dre Greenlaw remains day-to-day. He practiced Wednesday in a green protective jersey. Junior tight end Cheyenne O’Grady also hasn’t played this season due to disciplinary issues. Morris addressed his availability for Saturday’s game.
“Yeah. As of Wednesday, today he does,” Morris said of being in the game plan. “He was out here yesterday and doing a good job. Today we’ll see how it is. Everybody’s excited to be out here today and he’s back in the plan.”
Kevin Richardson is still a little ways from coming back, but when he comes back is there any thought to playing him at cornerback some?
“It just depends on how he moves,” Morris said. “As the season goes and the length of wide receivers we’re gonna see across the board to have a guy with size at the nickel position able to cover in space as well is gonna be vital to our success. We’re just excited he’s back out here and going through a little bit of drill work. We’ll just take it day-by-day and see where it ends up.”
You think he could play next week or is that too soon?
“You know I don’t know that’s hard to say,” Morris said. “I would say doubtful today, but just don’t know. He’s progressing every day.”
Anytime a team loses some fans look for anything to be critical of the head coach. One of the things this week is Morris going to watch his son, Chandler, play each week. Chandler plays for Highland Park in the DFW-Metroplex so anytime Morris is out he sees prospects in the game. It’s something he has no plans to change.
“Absolutely,” Morris said. “Football is what I do. It’s not who I am. We get all of our meetings and practices done here. We get to the hotel, it is chapel and dinner and O/D has a separate signal meeting for 15, 25 minutes or so, I think at max 30 minutes. So no, we have all of our team stuff and walk-throughs on Saturday mornings.”
Highland Park is 2-0 on the season and will take on Frisco Lone Star on Thursday night this week. Morris said he will be there.
“I am, I’ll be there,” Morris said. “As a matter of fact, we have about seven or eight coaches that are going to be out recruiting tomorrow night.”
Morris went into more about the evaluation period that will start on Thursday for the Hogs.
“That’s something as a head coach, at times you get out on Friday nights and go out recruiting and that’s something we’ve challenged our entire staff,” Morris said. “We have to be able to get out and we’re going to recruit and coaches are going to be on the road on Friday.
“We have several coaches out on the road on Friday and that’s, again, going back to building this program and taking it from the blueprint of where we were at Clemson and watching Dabo (Swinney) and his success and being able to go watch his two boys play and be out on the road recruiting Friday nights. A lot of programs do some things different on Fridays. Some take them to a movie. So it varies. We’ve done all kinds of things. It varies. We’ve done all kinds of things. The main important thing is to get out and recruit when you’ve got an opportunity. We only have so many days to get out.”
Arkansas and North Texas will kickoff at 3 p.m. on Saturday with the game televised on the SEC Network Alternate channel.