There were many pieces to this Razorbacks football team that were not healthy enough to practice this spring. Many fans had the opportunity to see what this team had at running back with many walk-on’s and a converted defensive back receiving playing time. Devwah Whaley has a touchdown on the day in limited duty. Whaley has been underwhelming in his career. Former head coach, Bret Bielema said, “Devwah is the best high school running Back I have ever seen.” Whaley has yet to live up to the expectations coming in as a four star tailback but he knows the time is now for senior to be. Jordon Curtis has a good game. Curtis had a solid game yesterday that displays shiftiness, quickness, agility and good speed. The only part of his game that needs added is weight on his body. If he gets any significant action this fall, the 6’0 179 converted cornerback would not survive the SEC.
Along the defensive line, there is so much hope that they could be a solid unit throughout 2019. McTelvin Agim, Gabe Richardson, Jonathan Marshall, T.J. Smith, Mataio Soli and Eric Gregory helped the defense to seven straight three and outs to start the Red-White Game. Say what you will but the defensive line looks like a solid unit. FIve sacks and nine tackles for a loss yesterday only bolsters my reasoning that they could have a good year and keep the weight off the linebackers shoulders.
There were some explosive plays in the passing game yesterday as well. Wide receivers, Trey Knox and Kolian Jackson showed they are a duo not to be messed with come 2019. Knox exploded off a skinny slant, broke Kam Curl’s ankles, changed directions and accelerated for a 45 yard touchdown to open the scoring for the offense. Jackson made a catch around the middle of the field that he adjusted his body in order to make the play. On another boundary reception, the pass looked to be overthrown by a few inches but Jackson reached his long arm up to catch it one handed and still made a big play off of it. Memphis true freshman, Shamar Nash made a nice play on a flag route. Many expect Nash to make many contributions on special teams. At 6’3 180, he could be a matchup nightmare wherever he likes up.
Many Razorback fans were underwhelmed with the passing game yesterday. Yeah, timing was still off but this game was played in front of fans for the first time this offseason which could have something to do with it. Some fans prematurely said that Morris needs to have a larger role within the offense. Maybe, but give offensive coordinator, Joe Craddock, some time. The adjustment period with so many new faces blended with older ones will take a little bit of time than just 12 practices. Fans will know more about what the Razorbacks have when Nick Starkel and Connor Noland return this offseason. Hicks displayed more pocket presence than his predecessors before him. The moxy, college experience, arm talent and prior knowledge of the Morris playbook at SMU will help the Hogs be more successful in 2019.
The Razorbacks as a team look more physical, faster and motivated to improve off their 2-10 season in 2018. A few guys that pop off the screen to you are Hayden, Whaley, Foucha, Knox, Jackson, Pool, Harrell, Agim, Marshall and many more. The Razorbacks lacked SEC size and speed last season but look to have made strides in their second year under Chad Morris. This will not be the “Bodies By Herb” transformations. Confidence seems to have returned to Fayetteville. After an epic meltdown during the Ole Miss loss, the season went south after that but fans can expect Morris and company have demanded the players undivided attention and have the Hogs buying in for 2019.
Devin Bush with what would have been a Pick Six in a regular game, Knox having a huge day, Greg Brooks looked great in coverage, Gregory and Soli looking solid at their end positions this Razorback football team will have some young flavor on the squad that will push for playing time and make impacts next season.
This game lacked star power but what it did do was give guys more experience that would not have received it. Some guys who were helped out during the Red-White Game were Blake Kern, Salley, Curtis, all the early enrollees and adding to the offensive lineman depth. What players were missing in action? Rakeem Boyd (knee), Mike Woods (wrist), Cheyenne O’Grady (back), Scoota Harris (foot), Briston Guidry (knee), Connor Noland (baseball) and Nick Starkel (Graduate Transfer) all sat out the majority of the spring but should be back this summer.
What were your thoughts on the Red-White Game? I took to Twitter and here were some replies: