FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas was missing three defensive starters against Auburn last week, but it appears one of them will be back for UAPB this week according to Sam Pittman.
Pittman provided an update on defensive lineman Markell Utsey, tight end Trey Knox, cornerback LaDarrius Bishop, defensive back Trent Gordon and offensive tackle Dalton Wagner. Of course safety Jalen Catalon had shoulder surgery Monday and is out for the season.
“We’re still looking at Trey Knox to see if he’s gonna .. if that ankle will be healed up enough,” Pittman said. “Don’t believe we’ll be able to get Utsey back and don’t believe certainly Wagner, he won’t be back in time for that. Other than that I think we’re pretty healthy.”
So that means Gordon and Bishop should be able to play?
“I hope so,” Pittman said. “[Gordon} practiced this week. I think that ankle’s finally feeling better for him. I certainly hope some because we recruited him for a reason. We need him healthy and I think he’ll help us once his health allows him too.
“Yeah, [Bishop’s]fine. He seemed to be healthy, ready to go. There seems to be nothing wrong with him at all, so we expect him to be available to play.”
In addition, true freshman tight end Erin Outley is now practicing for the first time this fall.
“Well, he’s strong,” Pittman said. “We were talking about that in our staff meeting today about all these kids that are not playing, but how exciting it is to have them either back healthy or even watching them on the scout team and how much we think they can develop the rest of this season and in the spring. I think we’ve got some guys that you’ve heard of, but you haven’t heard of them really on Saturday playing that are going to play and play well for us. I think Erin’s going to be one of those guys. He’s lost his weight, not all of it, but he’s lost a lot of the weight he needed to lose and he looked – it was the first day – but he looked good yesterday.”
As far as Catalon is concerned, Pittman is hoping his replacement, Myles Slusher, can help take charge at safety.
“We’re hoping Slusher does that.” Pittman said. “We’re hoping one of those. Obviously Simeon Blair when he’s in there, he’s able to do that. But we’re hoping Slush kind of takes over that spot of doing that. Because JJ’s (Jayden Johnson) young and if Slush isn’t in there, it’ll probably be Malik (Chavis). We’re feeling like those guys can do that as well. That’s what we’re hoping. If you remember last year against LSU when Jalen went out, we at times looked a little bit confused back there. I don’t think that’ll be the case now. We’ve got guys that are older. At least a year older than what they were last year, and of course Slush played a lot of ball last week too.”
Arkansas and UAPB will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday and the game televised on the SEC Network from Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.