FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas Razorbacks senior safety Josh Liddell’s string of starts suddenly appears apt to extend as the Aug. 31 season opener in Little Rock against Florida A&M approaches.
Though basically considered one of three first-team safeties but the one who had started 20 consecutive Razorbacks game, Pine Bluff Dollarway alum was the odd man among fellow safeties Santos Ramirez and De’Andre Coley for the two first-team spots from the mid-point of spring drills through the summer’s preseason practices until scrimmaging Saturday on the first-team ahead of Coley.
“Josh Liddell has probably had the 14 best practices of his career,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “He has bought in. As always, he has always taken coaching. He plays within the extremes of what he can play. I think Paul (Rhoads) summed it up best. He’s always in the right spot. His eyes are always in the right spot and he seems to make all the plays.”
Arkansas’ last half of its scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Reynolds Razorback Stadium was open to the media and the public.
However, starting senior quarterback Austin Allen of Fayetteville and starting inside linebackers Dre Greenlaw of Fayetteville, Greenlaw’s first scrimmaging since breaking his foot for the second time in 2016 during the December Belk Bowl loss to Virginia Tech, and Scoota Harris, coming off a recent ankle injury, all completed their scrimmaging before the public’s and media’s viewing.
“To get 23 (Greenlaw) back in there, to get, coota back in there for the first half they were very productive,” Bielema said. “Very dominant, could run really well and do a lot of really good things. The defense definitely plays at another level when those two are in there together. I think that stood out big time.
Then offensively, Austin again was really, really productive. Very, very accurate. Very in control.”
Redshirt freshmen Grant Morgan of Greenwood and Dee Walker filled the first time weakside and middle linebacking shoes during Saturday’s second half of the scrimmage.
Bielema and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dan Enos used Saturday’s second half extensively to audition scholarship reserve quarterbacks Ty Storey, the third-year sophomore from Charleston, and redshirt freshman Cole Kelley, on both the first and second units.
Storey had the better Tuesday with the first unit than Kelley did Wednesday, Bielema said, regarding the days he gave each the most chance to show cause who should be the backup, but said Kelley had the better scrimmage Saturday.
Storey threw a nice deep pass to running back Devwah Whaley Saturday among his two completions in four attempts but also was picked off by true freshman cornerback Kamren Curl.
Kelley completed four of six for 48 yards.
“I thought Cole Kelley in particular threw the ball extremely well,” Bielema said. “He created some plays, extended some plays when some things broke down around him. I thought Ty Storey through the course of the week was a little bit more productive and still did some good things today. Those guys continue to battle it out. We’ve got a great decision on our hands there. I feel really good where we are at.”
Bielema intends to keep evaluating both quarterbacks this week before committing to one being the definite No. 2.
Jack Lindsey, the redshirt freshman walk-on and son of former Razorbacks tight end Lyndy Lindsey and grandson of Forrest City native and former Razorbacks great Jim Lindsey, played all well as anybody Saturday.
Lindsey quarterbacked the second offense to a scoring drive against the first defense capped by his 4-yard touchdown pass to third-year sophomore tight end Will Gragg of Dumas.
Sophomore running back Devwah Whaley, seven carries for 24 yards, logged the only rushing touchdown in Saturday’s half while freshman Chase Hayden, 11 carries for 65 yards, led the rushing in Saturday’s portion watched by the public and was the rushing star of the Aug. 5 scrimmage.