By Nate Allen
Special to the News-Times
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas quarterbacks Cole Kelley and Ty Storey are slated again both to play in Game Two as they did Game One, though likely not in the same order.
A third-year sophomore, Kelley started last Saturday’s season-opening 55-20 victory over Eastern Illinois at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Storey, who came off the bench as scripted on the game’s fourth series, starred. The fourth-year junior from Charleston who went 12-of-17 for 261 yards without a turnover, quarterbacked four touchdown drives in the Razorbacks’ 28-point second quarter. He rushed for another TD in the third quarter.
During his Monday press conference Arkansas coach Chad Morris called Storey “our player of the game” against EIU. He said Storey starts the week taking the first-team snaps as the Razorbacks ready for Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. CDT game at 0-2 Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo., televised by the CBS Sports Network.
“Ty came in and gave us a spark,” Morris said Monday, noting that he’ll evaluate who starts by the week’s practice, but Storey will take more first-team reps, which Kelley did as last week’s designated starter.
Morris and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Joe Craddock praised Kelley for “being a great teammate” staying mentally into the game and “supporting Ty” during Storey’s time that continued through the third quarter.
Kelley, 9-of-12 for 92 yards, came back in the fourth quarter and completed a 42-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Cantrell.
For defensive players against Eastern Illinois, Morris cited linebackers Dre Greenlaw (10 tackles, two for minus-2 yards, and forcing a fumble all in the first quarter), De’Jon “Scoota” Harris (nine tackles with a forced fumble), senior free safety Santos Ramirez (six tackles) and senior tackle T.J. Smith, tying up blockers to free linebackers to make tackles and making three tackles himself, one shared behind the line.
Greenlaw only played the first quarter because of an ankle injury. Morris said it’s “day to day” whether Greenlaw and senior defensive end Randy Ramsey, withheld from the Eastern Illinois game because of an injured hamstring, will play against Colorado State.
True freshman Bumper Pool, filling in for Greenlaw, earned Morris’ praise. Pool made six tackles, broke up a pass, recovered a fumble that he returned 60 yards to the EIU five and blocked a PAT.
Pool also made some “freshman mistakes” misaligned on some of EIU’s longer runs that he will learn from, Morris said.
“My challenge to this football team is let’s don’t come back in here next Sunday and have to correct the same mistakes that we just made this past Saturday,” Morris said. “If we can do that, we can keep getting better, that’s all we can ask.”
Veteran Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis praised Pool and also noted defensive ends Michael Taylor and Gabe Richardson had played very little last season, but started and excelled against EIU. Taylor made a tackle and forced one of EIU’s six fumbles.
Richardson made four tackles, one behind the line, and was credited with a quarterback hurry.
Chavis said improving Arkansas’ rushing defense is a priority.
EIU out-rushed Arkansas 127-80 in net yards.
Just netting 80 yards on 37 carries prompts Morris and Craddock stressing the all 11 must do their job aspect.
“A lot of times we were playing with 10 guys doing their job and one guy wasn’t and that’s what was causing the issues,” Craddock said. “It was the first game and we’ve got to iron out those issues and we will. We’ll get all 11 playing on the same page and we’ll be a much better offense.”
Freshman receiver Michael Woods, senior special-teamer Ryder Lucas, both charged with driving under the influence earlier in the summer, and junior tight end C.J. O’Grady (undisclosed reasons) were suspended by Morris for last week’s game, but now are restored to active roster, Morris said Monday.
Junior offensive lineman Jalen Merrick, not practicing since the August preseason’s outset because of reoccurring headaches, is ending his football career, but staying in school on medical hardship, Morris said Monday.
Junior 2017 starting left offensive tackle Colton Jackson of Conway, might return to drills next week, Morris said Monday.
In recovering from back surgery in July, Jackson is reported “ahead of schedule,” Morris said.
Redshirt freshman Shane Clenin started at left tackle against Eastern Illinois and is listed to start again Saturday.
Redshirt freshman Kirby Adcock, last Saturday’s starter, sophomore Ty Clary, who played in the second half, and Austin Capps, the junior from Star City moved from the defensive line to offense, all will get evaluated at left guard this week, Morris said.
Colorado State’s Rams of the Mountain West opened the season Aug. 25 in Fort Collins, losing 43-34 to conference rival Hawaii. Last Friday in Denver, the Rams lost 45-13 instate rival Colorado of the Pac-12.