El Dorado News

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November 14, 2018
El Dorado News Times

Morris hoping to see offense improve against Rams

This article was published September 7, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

By Nate Allen

Special to the News-Times

FAYETTEVILLE - A Colorado-based media man had seen enough of the Colorado State Rams defense to ask Chad Morris if he would show very little film of it to his Razorbacks.

The 0-2 Rams of the Mountain West Conference host SEC member Arkansas, 1-0, at 6:30 p.m. CDT Saturday on the CBS Sports Network at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins, Colo.

For their 43-34 and 45-13 losses in Fort Collins to Mountain West rival Hawaii and in Denver to instate rival Colorado of the Pac 12, coach Mike Bobo's Rams allowed an average 44 points and 606.5 yards total offense per game.

So, implied the media man on Morris' portion of Wednesday's SEC teleconference, had Morris better not have shown much of the Rams' defense lest the Razorbacks offense become laughingly overconfident?

"No," Morris replied.

He'll show it all. Or at least all that's pertinent.

"We’re going to prepare as we would prepare for every opponent," Morris said.

Besides, after netting but 80 yards rushing on 37 carries of its 55-20 victory over lower (FCS) division Eastern Illinois last Saturday in Fayetteville, Morris said overconfidence seems to be the least of Arkansas' offensive worries.

"We’re going to first take a look at ourselves and see the deficiencies," Morris said. “I think when you look at our inability to run the football last week, you have to start with yourself."

Morris explained what the Hogs must do and what they've worked on during their Tuesday and Wednesday practices and would work on again in Thursday's practice that was entirely closed to media.

"We’ve got to play with better pad level," Morris said. "We’ve got to come off the football and strike people. We’ve got to be able to move double-teams."

Also, his Hogs had better take into account the prowess of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Colorado Buffaloes, Morris said.

"Knowing that they have played against two really good opponents, that’s the message that you carry to your team," Morris said. "Colorado, with all the guys they have coming back and the speed they have and and the way Hawaii did some things and then beat a sound Navy team. Two really good football teams that Colorado State’s played this year."

Offensively, the Rams average 378 passing yards for their two games.

Starting quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels has thrown 52 of CSU's 53 completions for 713 yards and six touchdowns against two interceptions.

Receivers Preston Williams and Olabisi Johnson average over 100 receiving yards per game, 15 for 237 and two touchdowns and 12 for 239 yards and three touchdowns, respectively.

While the Razorbacks pass defense obviously must monitor Williams and Johnson, Arkansas sophomore receiver Jordan Jones of Smackover can expect a Rams entourage. He burned Eastern Illinois for five catches for 132 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown from quarterback Ty Storey and a 46-yarder from Storey setting up the first touchdown of Arkansas' 28-point second quarter.

"Yeah. I feel like I’ll definitely be a set guy by Colorado State," Jones said.

However, considering nine receivers caught passes from quarterbacks Storey and Cole Kelley last week and that their two with the historically best stats didn't officially catch one, Jones and La' Michael Pettway (five catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday) likely can't stay too marked for lone.

Senior Jonathan Nance, last year's leading receiver, caught a long pass from Kelley called back by a holding penalty.

Senior Jared Cornelius, last year's leading returning receiver from 2016 until hardshipped last season because of a torn Achilles tendon, wasn't thrown to last week.

"The ball just finds one position more than the other sometimes," Jones said. “It just happened to be me and La'Michael showing speed. Anybody in this (receivers) room can make those type of plays."

Jones was asked if Storey's off-the-bench-performance against EIU, 12-of-17 for 261 yards with three touchdown passes along with one rushing touchdown and zero turnovers, surprised him.

"Ty surprised a lot of people, but he didn’t surprise me at all," Jones said. "Ty is one of the hardest workers on this team. I played in the state championship game against Ty, so I know a lot about Ty and I know he’s a hard worker."

Storey's Charleston team beat Jones' Smackover squad for the 2014 state championship though Jones was photographed tallying a touchdown with safety Storey pursuing in vain.

"He was playing defense and the ball got tipped," Jones said. “I caught it on the sideline and just took off running and I scored. So yeah.”

Of course, the W gave Storey the last laugh.

"Yeah, we always joke about it," Jones said. “I always tell him I want my state ring back. That was the first time Smackover had been in the state championship game in a long time. It was a good game, though. I still have memories about that all the time."

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