FAYETTEVILLE -- Officials at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville hope to have a ruling from the NCAA on the sixth-year petition of defensive back Kevin Richardson, who has been practicing with a green, no-contact jersey.
Richardson, a native of Jacksonville who served as a team captain last year, redshirted in 2013, then lost all but one game in 2016 after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in the season-opening victory against Louisiana Tech.
"That's real big," junior cornerback Ryan Pulley said of the potential for Richardson to return. "That would add more experience to the secondary, with me, Santos [Ramirez] and K-Rich leading all the younger guys we have. I think that would be big if he could come back and play with us."
Richardson has not been available in either of two media interview sessions this spring.
Ramirez agreed, saying, "It would be great having K-Rich back at that nickel to have that veteran mindset.
"It would make the game that much more easy as far as disguising coverages and everything. You'd have somebody out there who already has a feel for the game, especially that nickel spot. It could be very important for our defense."
Coach Chad Morris said Richardson is getting a look at the nickel-sam position, which is a hybrid outside linebacker and inside cover spot.
The Razorbacks return to the practice fields today for spring practice No. 4 with the weather projected to be substantially more pleasant than their last workout Tuesday.
The forecast for 4 p.m. today is calling for a sunny sky and the temperature around 52 degrees and dropping to the high 40s by the end of practice. On Tuesday, wind gusts were high with the temperature in the mid- to low 40s, and the wind chill factor dipped into the mid-30s.
The forecast for Saturday morning's first scrimmage includes a strong chance for thunderstorms with the temperature pushing toward a high of 60.
Senior receiver Jared Cornelius called new Coach Chad Morris a "genuine" guy who will imprint his "best" philosophy on the Hogs.
"I think the big difference with him than with a lot of coaches, he believes if the best is out there, he's going to go get it," Cornelius said. "If we need something, he's going to go get it. He always says our standard is 'best.' That goes from the clothes we wear, the uniforms, facilities. If we need it, we're going to have it."
Asked for an example, Cornelius cited a new performance-tracking system acquired during the winter.
"We got the Catapult system, and what it does is it tracks how many miles or feet you've run ... in a set practice or workout, and they can tell your top speed, they can tell your average speed. It basically keeps you from being over-used or worked.
"You talk about how important that is as far as an injury standpoint, preventing injury and keeping you at your best for game day. They know how many miles you run in a set practice, a set week. But those things are I don't even know how many thousands of dollars each, and we got like 100 of them. So it just shows how important we are, how important our legs are to this program."
Name & No.
The transition to a new head coach always features a period of connecting names, faces and jersey numbers for the new staff, and it's no different for the Arkansas Razorbacks this spring in the first year under Coach Chad Morris.
A good example came after practice No. 2, when Morris wasn't positive which quarterback threw a touchdown pass in the two-minute drill to which receiver. Morris was only sure he saw an "8" on the receiver's jersey, which turned out to be freshman receiver Mike Woods in No. 8, who caught a fade pass from Ty Storey for the No. 2 offense.
To help any confusion, the players have their names taped to the front of their helmets.
"We had several guys stand out," Morris said Saturday, though immediately after the practice he didn't have a lot of names to share. "I'm trying to learn their names. I do not want to come in here and call them by number. But when you make plays, you get [people] to learn your name pretty quick."
Senior Hjalte Froholdt would rather not see the terms "Spread offense" and "finesse" co-mingle in the Razorbacks' change to an up-tempo system under Chad Morris and coordinator Joe Craddock.
"Honestly, you've still got to be physical," Froholdt said. "Everyone thinks a Spread offense is just going to be flashy ... but we're going to be physical in the trenches.
"Of course we're going to spread it out, but when we run the ball we're going to run with some power. We don't just zone read every single play. We're going to run the ball right up the middle, run up the gut, and we're going to get some yards."
The Razorbacks are using a remote-controlled drone to record parts of practice.
Chad Morris said the football team at Clemson began using a drone for videotaping during his tenure as offensive coordinator for Coach Dabo Swinney between 2011-2014.
An article from The [Columbia, S.C.] State newspaper suggests Clemson's drone usage began in the spring of 2014.
"There's different levels that we'll fly it at," Morris said. "Some will fly at about 8, 9 feet high to where it kind of gives exactly what the quarterback is looking at.
"Other times we fly it extremely high because, especially in special teams, we want to get a great top-down look and it moves with the ball. It's always been a great teaching tool for us, so we'll do a whole lot of video study with our drone film."
The Arkansas Razorbacks switched to artificial turf under Coach Bobby Petrino in 2009 because Petrino wanted to practice frequently on the game-day surface, which made it tough on the natural grass at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Chad Morris, asked about his preferred playing surface last week, did not advocate for a change, but he expressed a different opinion than Petrino.
"Well, let me say my preference is I love natural grass," Morris said. "That's just me. Maybe that's just the high school coach in me. But man, I'm just worried about today, that's it.
"Worrying about what the next surface out here looks like is irrelevant to me. I just want to get through a practice and get better today.
"But ... I'm a natural grass type of guy. I love being on a grass field. There's nothing better than that in college football, or football period."
Sports on 03/08/2018
Print Headline: Hogs wait for ruling on 6th year