FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas' secondary has gotten a much-needed shot in the arm the past couple of weeks.
Sixth-year senior Kevin Richardson received his first real playing time on defense in last week's 24-17 loss to Texas A&M and could be in position to start at nickel back Saturday against No. 1 Alabama. Additionally, cornerback Britto Tutt was back at practice after missing a couple of games with a leg injury.
Richardson, who had the only interception against Alabama's Jalen Hurts last year, was asked whether his playing time might bump up now that's he's back in shape after foot surgery.
"I feel like whatever we need to do to stay fresh," said Richardson, who was in the interview room for the first time this season Tuesday.
Defensive coordinator John "Chief" Chavis, and defensive backs coaches Ron Cooper and Mark Smith can add Richardson to the nickel back crew of Derrick Munson and D'Vone McClure.
"I don't know exactly what Chief's plan is with that," Richardson said. "At the end of the day, we're going to send fresh bodies out there to stay fresh and go out there and compete because this is the No. 1 team in the country."
Cornerback Ryan Pulley said Richardson's return was a need for the defense.
"He's back in the starting position," Pulley said. "We need him as a vocal contributor. He knows the defense. It's a blessing to have him back out there."
The cornerback spot has taken a hit in recent weeks. Chevin Calloway, who started the first two games, has been on a personal hiatus for three games. Tutt was injured during his first start against North Texas.
Pulley has played virtually all the snaps in recent games, while Jarques McClellion and Montaric "Buster" Brown have split time at the other cornerback spot.
Asked about the other young corners, Pulley said: "They're doing good. We've got Jarques and we got Buster and we got Britto back today, so that's a blessing.
"Quez has been playing outstanding the last two games. Buster, he's still coming on. He's still getting used to the speed."
Cornerback Chevin Calloway made his first public statement since taking a leave from the Arkansas football team three weeks ago.
"You have to do what's best for you and look out for yourself," Calloway wrote on his Instagram account Tuesday morning. "The situations I'm dealing with is a lot bigger than football.
"Through prayer and a lot of thinking, taking a step back from ball is what's best for me. My choice was either dealing with this unhealthy situation & making a sacrifice living up to other people's expectations or listening to my heart, gut, spirit of discernment and what I know is best for me despite others opinions."
Cornerback Ryan Pulley said Calloway has to do what's best for him.
"I just hope the best for Chevin and just keep doing what he's doing," Pulley said. "We will welcome him back with open arms any time he comes back."
Tight end Jeremy Patton wrote on his Twitter account on Tuesday afternoon "Surgery was successful," alluding to the first-quarter injury he suffered Saturday.
Patton was planting to catch a pass when his foot buckled, indicating an ankle or foot injury.
Tailback Devwah Whaley wore a yellow jersey and did not participate in Tuesday's practice, indicating he has not been cleared to return from the concussion he suffered at Auburn on Sept. 27.
Tight end Cheyenne O'Grady did not dress out Tuesday because he has strep throat.
Cornerback Britto Tutt, who has missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury, was back at practice in a white defensive jersey. Receiver Gary Cross, who suffered a foot or ankle injury against North Texas, was working in a green (limited contact) jersey.
Cheyenne O'Grady made a big splash last week with three catches for 77 yards, all on the Razorbacks' two touchdown drives, after starting the year with a two-game suspension, then going slow in the two games after that.
Fellow tight end Austin Cantrell was asked Tuesday whether O'Grady had "turned a corner" regarding his off-the-field issues.
"I mean, yeah, he's starting to turn around," Cantrell said. "I wouldn't say it's a corner. It's more of an obtuse angle. But he's getting there."
Return of Enos
Dan Enos, Arkansas' offensive coordinator the previous three years, will be with the visiting team Saturday as Alabama's quarterbacks coach.
"Coach Enos texted me a while back, but I haven't heard much from him since he's moved to Alabama," said Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey, a fourth-year junior. "I learned a lot from him. It was a different system, obviously, than this, but I learned a lot of West Coast plays. So it was really good to play under him for as long as I did."
Early in Enos' playing career at Michigan State, he was the scout-team quarterback when Alabama Coach Nick Saban was the Spartans' defensive coordinator.
"We heard a couple of stories about that," Storey said. "I don't know if we can go into detail about that. But he had some good stories about Coach Saban."
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa met with the media Tuesday for the first time since the school's fan day Aug. 4.
Tagovailoa piloted the Crimson Tide to a comeback 26-23 victory over Georgia in the College Football Playoff championship game with a big second half, then won the starting job over Jalen Hurts in training camp.
The native of Ewa Beach, Hawaii, will come to Reynolds Razorback Stadium on a supreme roll, having completed 66 of 88 passes (75 percent) for 1,161 yards, with 14 touchdowns and no interceptions.
"I think for anyone that plays the sport of football, when you find success, it just becomes very fun," Tagovailoa said. "So with our guys, it can be a blessing and a burden because we're so used to it. Now, everybody wants a touchdown, everybody wants to do something big.
"Sometimes, that can be a burden because sometimes we don't understand what we're doing, there's lack of focus out there. There's definitely a big lack of intensity sometimes within our offense when we start to think that way.'
Former All-American tailback Darren McFadden will be the Arkansas representative for the AT&T SEC Legends class, which will be honored at the 2018 SEC Weekend of Champions celebration in Atlanta on Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
McFadden was a two-time runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, a two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award, a two-time All-America selection and was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007. The Little Rock native is second on the SEC career rushing list with 4,590 yards.
McFadden, Herschel Walker and former Razorback Alex Collins are the only SEC players to rush for 1,000 yards in each of their first three seasons. His 321 rushing yards in a 48-36 victory over South Carolina in 2007 is tied for the SEC single-game record.
The fourth pick of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Raiders, McFadden played 10 seasons in the NFL with Oakland and Dallas.
Nine former Razorbacks, including four football players, will be among the newest class inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.
The football players are Gary Anderson, Bobby Crockett, Glen Ray Hines and Jimmy Walker.
Other Razorbacks to be inducted are Marvin Delph (basketball), Peter Doohan (tennis), Tim Lollar (baseball), Reuben Reina (cross country and track and field) and Tracy Webb-Rice (basketball).
An induction ceremony will be held at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock on Nov 5. The luncheon will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $25.
Sports on 10/03/2018
Print Headline: DB room welcomes fresh help