Login

Injuries continue to pile up

photo.caption|escapejs

Photographs by Ben Goff

Hawgs Illustrated/BEN GOFF Ty Clary (66), Arkansas offensive lineman, congratulates Deon Stewart, Arkansas wide receiver, after Stewart scored a touchdown against Florida A&M Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, during the game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas Razorbacks season-long injury problems deepened during Saturday's 33-10 loss at No. 24 LSU, and the offensive line was a big target.

Freshman guard Ty Clary is out for the rest of the season after suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee in Baton Rouge. Coach Bret Bielema said Clary does not need surgery but probably will need six weeks to recover.

Junior guard Hjalte Froholdt suffered an ankle injury that knocked him out of the game twice. Froholdt, now a veteran presence on the offensive front after the loss of preseason All-America center Frank Ragnow four weeks ago, has injured both of his ankles this season.

"We do expect him to get back later in this week," Bielema said. "I don't know if we'll have him for practice [today], but expect him back out there and I know he's doing everything he can."

Tight end Austin Cantrell suffered a significant bruise on the outside of his knee and is questionable for Saturday's 11 a.m. game against Mississippi State.

Bielema said tight end Cheyenne O'Grady, who missed the LSU game due to a bruised tailbone, should be at today's practice. Safety De'Andre Coley, who has missed four games with an ankle injury, is also expected to be ready for Saturday's game.

Bielema said quarterback Austin Allen did not suffer a setback to his right shoulder in the LSU game. Allen's shoulder injury kept him out of four consecutive games.

"Austin, really no issues," Bielema said. "I ran into him on Sunday and said 'How do you feel?' and he said 'Really, the only soreness I have is in my legs,' just being out there and running around and playing a game as long as he did. That was really the only thing that was sore. Nothing significant in the shoulder and I think he'll be back better this week more than ever."

Dog dings

Mississippi State has had a run of injuries to its receivers that has tested the Dogs' depth.

Malik Dear, the team's top slot receiver, tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the spring and has been out all year. Gabe Myles, a senior and the team's No. 2 outside receiver, is out for Saturday's game with a foot injury.

Donald Gray, the Bulldogs' top outside receiver, is questionable with a groin injury. Coach Dan Mullen said the trainers were optimistic Gray could play against Arkansas.

Jesse Jackson, Reggie Todd, Jordan Thomas and Jamal Couch have gotten increased playing time on the outside, while Keith Mixon, who also has been banged up, has worked in the slot.

Middle linebacker Dez Harris, who makes the defensive calls, suffered a thigh bruise against Alabama and is questionable to play against the Hogs.

Safety Brandon Bryant passed through concussion protocol after taking a hit against the Crimson Tide and is expected to play on Saturday.

Rhoads and Mullen

Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads has a lengthy history with Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen dating back to the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.

Rhoads coordinated the defense for No. 21 Pittsburgh, which lost 35-7 to No. 6 Utah on Jan. 1, 2005. Mullen was the second-year quarterbacks coach for the unbeaten Utes, led by quarterback Alex Smith, who went 29 of 37 for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns in the game.

"He called the plays when we played them in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl and I thought did a tremendous job," Rhoads said. "They had a great offense there. ... I thought they were very innovative at the time and I think they are right now."

Rhoads said Mullen approached him about becoming defensive coordinator for him at Mississippi State in 2009 before Rhoads accepted the head coaching job at Iowa State.

"Because of that, I followed him his entire length of time there and he steadily built it to where he was No. 1 in the country. I have full notice of what he's accomplished there."

Consistent Harris

Sophomore linebacker De'Jon Harris is closing in on 100 tackles.

Harris had 12 tackles at LSU to raise his total to 93, which ranks second in the SEC.

"I think consistency is an accurate word used to describe how he's played here in his sophomore season," defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads said. "He takes full advantage of the week. That's awfully important.

"By that I mean, when we give them the first notes on Tuesday and we go out and apply it on the practice field, you can see he's not there. He doesn't fully understand what we're trying to get and where all the blocks and the angles are going to come from. But by the time Saturday arrives, he understands the plan. That's a lot of work he's put in, both physical and mental, and it shows in his consistent level of play."

LSU sophomore linebacker Devin White leads the SEC with 103 tackles. He had 14 tackles against Arkansas and was named SEC defensive player of the week.

Whaley grinding

Sophomore tailback Devwah Whaley's 55 yards rushing on 12 carries at LSU were his most in an SEC game this season.

"I thought Devwah ran hard, played physical and did a good job," offensive coordinator Dan Enos said. "That's a very good defense and I thought he played one of his better games."

Whaley, who had a 1-yard touchdown run, also caught two passes for 23 yards.

11 a.m. -- again

Arkansas' game against Mississippi State will be the fifth 11 a.m. kickoff for the Razorbacks, following games against Texas A&M, New Mexico State, Ole Miss and LSU.

The morning starts are nothing new for Bret Bielema, who said in his first season as head coach at Wisconsin all the Badgers' games kicked off at 11 a.m, including a 17-14 victory over Arkansas in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2007.

"We went 12-1 and all 13 games were at 11 o'clock," Bielema said. "Every one of them. So, I was indoctrinated early on.

"In the Big Ten they're a little bit more prevalent than they are here. When we got here, we went for a stretch there where we didn't have one for a long time."

Bielema said the 11 a.m. games are good for recruits because they get to see a full game, then afterward the coaches can spend time with them and their parents.

"Everybody would probably say 2:30 is ideal, but from a logistics and working environment, 11 o'clock is pretty on time," he said. "You get to that 6 o'clock, 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock and by the time the coaches get done, everything is out the door and we're a little bit limited. An 11 o'clock game is very functional for us."

Sports on 11/14/2017

Log in to comment