FAYETTEVILLE — Chad Morris opened his Wednesday morning SEC coaches/media teleconference asserting his 1-1 Razorbacks so have far have responded well from their 31-17 SEC loss last Saturday at Ole Miss going into this Saturday’s 3 p.m. SEC Network televised game with the Colorado State Rams at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“I thought our guys have really responded well this week,” Morris said. “They had two really good practices and just need a really good one today. I like where our mindset is right now and how we handled some adversity last Saturday night. These guys came in here on Sunday and responded and I look forward to seeing what Saturday will bring for us.”
Morris was specifically asked about players noting last year’s 2-10 Hogs didn’t respond well off losing last year’s 27-9 lead during the third quarter in Fort Collins, Colo. withered to a 34-27 loss to Colorado State followed by underdog North Texas routing Arkansas, 44-17 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Morris has said he doesn’t want Ole Miss, a 31-17 victor over Arkansas in last Saturday’s SEC opener in Oxford, Mississippi, “beating Arkansas twice,” like Colorado State might have last year with the Hogs still reeling their next game.
“I think we learned a lot last year after this Colorado State game,” Morris said. “I think that the lingering effects carried forward for a few weeks before we could shake it loose. That’s something that we talked about. But it’s a new team that’s an entirely different attitude of a team so I would not expect anything but a great response.”
In his weekly Wednesday pre-practice presser as the Razorbacks readied to work in shoulder pads and shorts, Morris said he discussed the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“Started it off recognizing 9-11 with these young men,” Morris said. “A lot of them weren't born yet. So we spent some time talking about it. We watched a video. Just shared with them where we were. Everybody remembers where you were on that day. One of those life-changing moments and how it's changed our world.”
After that, Morris said, “We rolled our focus on into Colorado State. Had a really good day yesterday, one of our better Tuesdays. Really good energy and anticipate this being a great day as well.”
Senior Austin Capps of Star City continued practicing on a limited basis Wednesday while freshman Ricky Stromberg again worked first-team right guard and junior college transfer starting guard Myron Cunningham worked at left guard.
Cunningham started at right guard and Capps started at left guard in the season opener against Portland State but injured ankle.
Stromberg and Cunningham were the right and left guard combo against Ole Miss.
Capps apparently is doing a little more each day in the practices closed to media after the first 20 minutes. So it seems all three likely will shuttle against Colorado State.
“We anticipate Austin being back,” Morris said on Wednesday morning’s teleconference. “Ricky played really well. Really well. I anticipate that allowing us to create some depth. These guys (the starting offensive line) are playing entirely too many snaps. You’d like to get a little bit off of them at some point during the game. With Austin being back, I think that provides those opportunities for us.”
Morris was asked if he’s seen a different approach to Saturday’s game from Nick Starkel, a graduate transfer and former starter at Texas A&M drawing his first Arkansas start.
Starkel relieved Ben Hicks starting the second half against Ole Miss. Hicks, a graduate transfer from SMU, started Arkansas’ first two games.
“When you are named starter you have a different approach,” Morris said. “He's had a great approach this whole camp and into the first couple of games in preparation, but when you are named the starter and you are actively involved and part of the game plan, yeah I have.”
How much input does Starkel have in Saturday’s game plan?
“We always communicate with the starter and ask him what he liked and what he saw,” Morris said. “As far as the install of the game plan and what we put in it's what he's comfortable with. Not necessarily what we're comfortable with or what I'm comfortable with. It's what he can do and execute. He's been very active and very much a part of it.”