Arkansas freshman offensive tackle Noah Gatlin made his first start and played in all 75 offensive plays from scrimmage at left tackle against the Rams of Colorado State last Saturday night in Fort Collins.
The Jonesboro, Arkansas native impressed coaches with his ability to play the position on the field.
“Well I think he did really well,” said Arkansas head coach Chad Morris. “This is a young man who has came in and impressed us. Has a great future here, great career ahead of him.”
“It is really exciting to see those young guys in there and playing at the level Noah did,” added Arkansas offensive coordinator Joe Craddock. “Going into the game I was a little concerned with that being his first time to start a game at this level. He handled it extremely well.”
Gatlin replaced redshirt freshman Shane Clenin in the lineup after injury in the season opener sidelined the Festus, Missouri native.
“You wish you didn’t have to play a true freshman especially at left tackle. The moment was not too big for him,” says Morris. “He made some mistakes as you would expect. Some mistakes at times that were in third downs. But that is to be expected when you put a freshman on the field.”
Clenin is expected to return to action this week against North Texas and junior tackle Colton Jackson could return this week, but looks likely to see his first action of the season in the SEC opener at Auburn in two weeks.
The valuable reps Gatlin earned on Saturday will come in handy in the next ten weeks according to Craddock.
“It is only going to make us better as we move forward. When we get Shane and Colton back it is going to make us have a lot more depth and guys that can rotate in there and keep us fresh.”
Gatlin and the Razorbacks will look to get back on track Saturday as the Hogs host North Texas at Razorback Stadium with kickoff set for 3 p.m. on the SEC Network Alternate Channel.