FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas started the preparation for Rice on Thursday and Sam Pittman thought the practice was successful even with several key players in green protective jerseys.
Here’s a few tidbits from the practice.
Wide Receivers Missing Key Player
Junior Treylon Burks didn’t scrimmage this past Saturday and is still being held out. Despite that, Pittman said he expects Burks to be available for Rice on Saturday, Sept. 4.
With Burks out, several other wide receivers are getting a chance to show what they can do. Pittman mentioned some who have caught his eye.
“Bryce Stephens is going to help us,” Pittman said. “(Kendall) Catalon’s going to help us. Certainly Jaquayln Crawford has moved into that spot. But I like our outside receivers, Warren Thompson being one of those guys, and of course I talked about Ketron (Jackson). But in that slot position, you have JD (White), you have Jaquayln Crawford, you have Bryce Stephens. Cat’s playing on the outside, but we could even move him in there, as well. Of course, I’ve been impressed with Harper Cole, too. I think… Again, you certainly don’t want Treylon Burks not to play – in any game – but sometimes if you get a little nicked up and you’re not able to practice, it helps your football team in the long run.”
Freshman running back Raheim (Rocket) Sanders has shot up the way up the depth chart to No. 2. The problem with most freshman running backs is pass protection. Pittman is seeing Sanders improve.
“I think we’re getting better at that.” Pittman said. “Now we know who to block. It’s a little more of how to block them and I think we’re getting better in that. Dominique Johnson is good at that. Rocket’s becoming a better protector. Trelon’s (Smith) always been a willing protector. AJ Green has to continue to improve there, but I think they know who to go after and they’re playing more physical.”
Arkansas hasn’t named its captains for the season yet, but that will change on Saturday.
“That’s a good question,” Pittman said Thursday night. “What is tomorrow? Friday? Friday we’ll vote on team captains and then we’ll announce them out here in the mock game on Saturday. The kids will vote – not the coaches.”
Offensive Line Depth
Arkansas returned all its starters from the 2020 offensive line. Pittman said Thursday they are still working on the offensive line. Some key players such as Ricky Stromberg have missed practice time this preseason.
“Ty’Kieast Crawford has played a lot with the 1s.,” Pittman said. “Wags (Dalton Wagner) has been a little bit in and out with an injury. Of course (Jalen) St. John has been out there at left tackle and he’s improved. Had a spell there he had a stinger that he didn’t want to see me come around too often. Other than those two or three practices when he had that stinger and he was trying to nurse it more than I wanted to, he’s done well. The battle’s still going on at those two guard spots, but Ty Clary has a lot of value to us, whether it be center, we’ve also looked at him at right tackle. We’ve looked at Brady Latham at right and left tackles. So I think we’re going to be fine at the tackle position, the guard position and center position, as well. Clary has a lot to do with that because I believe he would possibly be the backup at right tackle and center.”