Arkansas Updates on Coaches, Injuries and More

By Otis Kirk

John Chavis has exercised an option in his contract to stay with Arkansas two more years. 

On Thursday morning, Chad Morris commented on what it means to have Chavis return to the program.

“I think the main thing with that is, as we look at Coach Chavis and what he’s done and the improvements that we’ve made – we’ve got to have more – but continuity is so much a part of success and creating that continuity, the players understand what’s asked of them,” Morris said. “They understand defensively what we’re doing and trying to do. We didn’t get to exactly everything that we wanted to this year defensively and that was understandable. We thought we were going to be able to progress at a rate that would get us there, but we weren’t. I think continuity is the biggest thing getting Coach Chavis back in here.”

In addition, Jeff Traylor has been named one of the candidates for the head coaching job at Stephen F. Austin, his alma mater. 

“Our staff right now is completely focused on recruiting,” Morris said. “I’ve been a part of staffs to where coaches move on and become head coaches and better themselves. We would not stand in anybody’s way that would want to go out and feel like they’re bettering themselves. We would support that and with them the best.”

Morris did say that safety Kamren Curl and cornerback Ryan Pulley were back at the team meeting on Monday morning. The two were suspended for the Missouri game. Pulley, defensive end McTelvin Agim and linebacker De’Jon Harris are juniors who have seen their names linked to the 2019 NFL Draft. 

“With Sosa, Scoota and Pulley our job is, they want to find out where they are from a draft status, standpoint, then when we get that back, should get that back in early December, it’s our job to educate and provide them as much information as they need to make a decision what’s best for them,” Morris said. “We want to support them in that decision.”

Several players have transferred from the program. Morris was asked how many more he expected?

“Everybody will go back and look at what’s best for them,” Morris said. “You know I don’t anticipate a whole lot more. I don’t. We’ve met one on one with all the players and kind of shared with them what they’ve got to work on moving forward and what the expectations are going to be from us in year two. We laid that out. Everybody was on board and our players are ready to get back in here next Monday and get quarter one started.”

Morris also named three players who had surgery since the completion of the season.

“Hayden Henry shoulder surgery yesterday,” Morris said. “He should be back full go. Rakeem Boyd had shoulder surgery yesterday. He’ll be back. Britto Tutt will have knee surgery. So that’s where we’re at.”

Do you know if those three plus defensive tackle Briston Guidry, who also recently had surgery on a knee, will be back for spring ball?

“You know, I don’t know,” Morris said. “I don’t know on that. I think they’ll be back. We’ll start spring practice, I think the first practice will be Feb. 26. So I don’t know if they’ll be back at the start. We hope to get them back maybe after spring break some. Maybe some in some non-contact roles. We’ll see.”

True freshman defensive lineman Billy Ferrell didn’t practice during the 2018 season. Morris was asked if he would be back for spring?

“Don’t know if he’ll be back for spring or not,” Morris said. “I know that he’s still going and still working with our training staff and trying to get everything right with our doctors.”