Sunday, August 13, 2017
FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas senior safety Josh Liddell appears likely to continue his string of starts as the Aug. 31 season opener against Florida A&M in Little Rock approaches.
Though basically considered one of three first-team safeties, the Pine Bluff Dollarway alum had started 20 consecutive Razorbacks games, making him the odd man among fellow safeties Santos Ramirez and De'Andre Coley, but Liddell had no guarantee of securing one of the two first-team spots until scrimmaging Saturday on the first-team ahead of Coley.
"Josh Liddell has probably had the 14 best practices of his career," Arkansas Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema said after Saturday's scrimmage. "He has bought in. As always, he has always taken coaching. He plays within the extremes of what he can play. I think Paul (Rhoads) summed it up best. He's always in the right spot. His eyes are always in the right spot, and he seems to make all the plays."
While Arkansas' last half of its scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Reynolds Razorback Stadium was open to the media and the public, starting senior quarterback Austin Allen of Fayetteville and starting inside linebackers Dre Greenlaw of Fayetteville and Scoota Harris all completed their scrimmaging before the public's and media's viewing. The scrimmage was Greenlaw's first since breaking his foot for the second time in 2016 during the December Belk Bowl loss to Virginia Tech, and Harris is coming off a recent ankle injury.
"To get 23 (Greenlaw) back in there, to get Scoota back in there for the first half they were very productive," Bielema said. "Very dominant, could run really well and do a lot of really good things. The defense definitely plays at another level when those two are in there together. I think that stood out big time. Then offensively, Austin again was really, really productive. Very, very accurate. Very in control."
Redshirt freshmen Grant Morgan of Greenwood and Dee Walker filled the first time weakside and middle linebacker shoes during Saturday's second half of the scrimmage.
Bielema and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dan Enos used Saturday's second half extensively to audition scholarship reserve quarterbacks Ty Storey, the third-year sophomore from Charleston, and redshirt freshman Cole Kelley on both the first and second units.
Storey had the better Tuesday with the first unit than Kelley did Wednesday, Bielema said, regarding the days he gave each the most chance to show cause who should be the backup, but said Kelley had the better scrimmage Saturday.
Storey threw a nice deep pass to running back Devwah Whaley Saturday among his two completions in four attempts but also threw an interception picked off by true freshman cornerback Kamren Curl.
Kelley completed 4 of 6 for 48 yards.
"I thought Cole Kelley in particular threw the ball extremely well," Bielema said. "He created some plays, extended some plays when some things broke down around him. I thought Ty Storey through the course of the week was a little bit more productive and still did some good things today. Those guys continue to battle it out. We've got a great decision on our hands there. I feel really good where we are at."
Bielema intends to keep evaluating both quarterbacks this week before committing to one being the definite No. 2.
Frankly, Jack Lindsey, the redshirt freshman walk-on and son of former Razorbacks tight end Lyndy Lindsey and grandson of former Razorbacks great Jim Lindsey, played as well as anybody Saturday.
Lindsey quarterbacked the second offense to a scoring drive against the first defense capped by his 4-yard touchdown pass to third-year sophomore tight end Will Gragg of Dumas.
Bielema praised Lindsey's performance and his genetics.
"Obviously Mr. (Jim) Lindsey had something special, and I know Lyndy and what he has been able to accomplish in life, and Jack has just got that something to him." Bielema said. "He is very productive and smart, intelligent and engaged and doesn't make a lot of mistakes."
Bielema also praised walk-on quarterback Carson Proctor of Vero Beach, Fla., who threw the best pass of the Aug. 5 scrimmage, a 45-yard touchdown strike to freshman receiver Koilan Jackson.
Third-year sophomore Deon Stewart of Hardy, 3 catches for 62 yards in Saturday's second half, had the statistically biggest scrimmage among this Saturday's receivers.
"Deon Stewart, as you saw, makes a lot of good plays, catches the ball well," Bielema said. "Then Jordan Jones (the talented redshirt freshman from Smackover) has got to decide to grow up. I got after him a little afterwards. If he wants to be treated like a Division-I player, an SEC player, he has got to take coaching, and I think he will. He's a great kid who has a lot of ability."
Sophomore running back Devwah Whaley, 7 carries for 24 yards, logged the only rushing touchdown in Saturday's half while freshman Chase Hayden, 11 carries for 65 yards, led the rushing in Saturday's portion watched by the public and was the rushing star of the Aug. 5 scrimmage.
"Offensively Chase Hayden is a guy that belongs on the field," Bielema said. "He's a guy that stands out."
True freshman offensive tackle Dalton Wagner and junior linebacker Josh Harris of Pine Bluff Dollarway (foot injuries earlier in the week), and walk-on receiver River Warnock (hamstring) of North Little Rock, Bielema said, have been deleted from the 105-man active roster allowed to practice.
Backup offensive tackle Jake Raulerson (ankle) did not scrimmage nor did backup defensive end Briston Guidry, who was excused to be with family due to his grandmother passing away.
Ben Brasuell, the redshirt freshman walk-on linebacker from Benton, is among those added to the roster since injuries deleted Wagner, Harris and Warnock.Sports on 08/13/2017
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