By Otis Kirk
Chad Morris has embraced playing in Little Rock on Saturday night and didn’t refer to it as a road game during his press conference on Monday.
Morris is looking forward to seeing how his team handles the second half of the season and it starts in Little Rock on Saturday night.
“But as we move forward, it always has been and always will be about the Arkansas Razorbacks and what makes our program and what makes our great state so special is the tradition and the passion for Razorback Football,” Morris said. “Not just in Northwest Arkansas, but across our entire state. I cannot wait to go down to our home stadium at War Memorial there in Little Rock on a Saturday night. I think it’s the first time since 1999 that there will be a night SEC game.
“We’re extremely excited about this. I know we’re expecting the atmosphere to be incredible. The tailgating will be outstanding. The weather will be fabulous. But we need you in the stands for kickoff. We need you loud, we need you excited and we need this place to be rocking on Saturday night at 6:30. I’m excited about it, but so excited about this football team and moving forward.”
Morris said the Razorbacks will fly to Little Rock and then back to Fayetteville after the game. Morris’ players are taking the same attitude about Saturday’s trip to Little Rock. Wide receiver De’Vion spoke about Little Rock on Tuesday night.
“Being able to go to Little Rock and play is amazing,” Warren said. “I’ve heard that the stadium gets crazy when it’s a night game. Listening to J-Red (Jared Cornelius) and Santos (Ramirez) talk about the atmosphere, I’m just waiting to play and get my opportunity.”
Defensive end McTelvin Agim played high school football at Hope and is from Texarkana. He is excited about not only playing in War Memorial Stadium, but that it’s a night game.
“We haven’t been in Little Rock since the first game last year,” Agim said. “It’s going to be feel good getting back there. A lot of our team is from Little Rock. I’m two hours from Little Rock. So a lot of my family and friends are going to be able to come up.”
The night game should be good for the fans shouldn’t it?
“The fans actually have some time to get ready,” Agim said. “The last two games have been at 11 o’clock in the morning. I think the majority of the fans hate those early games. Now it gives fans time to get ready, to tailgate and then be able to come inside and enjoy the game.”
For Ramirez, one of Arkansas’ safeties, this will be his last trip to Little Rock as a Razorback player.
“Last trip to the Rock, man,” Ramirez said. “Gotta make it a memorable moment. I’ve had some pretty good games against Ole Miss my past years. I want to try to make it a third time around right here, man. So I’m going to give it all I got for my team.”
How badly do you guys want the fans to show up on Saturday and be loud?
“We really need them to come out there and support,” Ramirez said. “We’re trying to come out there and rock it out. We’re turning this season around. I feel like these last six games we’re very capable of going out winning and it starts with this one right here. So we need all the support we can out there, get as loud as they can against those guys. Let’s go out there and ball and get a W.”
Johnny Gibson starts at right guard for the Razorbacks and is from Dumas which is just 87 miles from Little Rock. It helps his family for the game to be played at War Memorial.
“My immediate family always comes to Little Rock,” Gibson said. “My mom, my dad and my sister, they always come up here (Fayetteville). But now, being in Little Rock, there are more people that are going to be able to come – some of my uncles, some friends will be able to come to the game.”
Gibson estimates he will have 16 or 17 members of his family at the game. He is hoping for a great game from the Hogs Saturday night.
“It’s going to be lit,” Gibson said of the crowd and War Memorial. “I know it’s going to be crazy. You know, we’ve got Ole Miss and the games between us have been wild every year I’ve been here, basically. Being in Little Rock, being a night game, knowing the fans will come and be crazy like they are…I’m just ready. Everybody’s looking for to it.”
Defensive back Kevin Richardson is from nearby Jacksonville and is excited about a night game in Little Rock.
“Oh! A night game, there hasn’t been a Little Rock night game in forever,” Richardson said. “I’m really excited to go down there and see War Memorial under the lights again with a Razorback football game. It’s been forever since I’ve been there for a night game. I think the last time we played there at night I wasn’t even here and I’ve been here a long time. It goes to show how infrequently we play in Little Rock at night time. It’s something rare and I’m ready to go down there and experience it myself.”
This will be the last time Richardson plays in War Memorial as a Razorback. He talked about that on Tuesday night.
“It’s home,” Richardson said. “I kind of said the same thing last year when I thought it was my last time. Just to go down there and experience playing in front of my family and friends, just to be able to experience it one last time – and it be actually the last time – I am going to take every little bit of it end.
“It’s a night game and we haven’t played a lot of night games since I have been here and just to be able to go out and experience that in my hometown is something I really look forward to.”
Defensive tackle Armon Watts is from St. Louis. He was asked Tuesday night if he has noticed how excited Morris is about playing in Little Rock opposed to the previous head coach?
“Yeah, I think it’s very important to him,” Watts said of Morris. “Very important because I hear him harp on it a lot. And we as players have to look at it like it’s Donald W. Reynolds, I think he’s excited about it.”
The kickoff is set for Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.