Agim, UA defense touted in front of Saturday’s spring game
By Nate Allen Sports
FAYETTEVILLE – After relinquishing the belt last week that Arkansas Coach Chad Morris awards to the unit practicing the best, the Razorback Defense reclaimed the belt following Thursday’s practice.
“We got it back today,” Arkansas senior defensive tackle and Hope High School alum McTelvin “Sosa” Agim said after yesterday’s practice. “So they got to babysit it for a day.”
Apparently for the closed portion of practice the belt’s sway came down to the last play with quarterback Ben Hicks forced out of the pocket and whistled stopped
“I guess it was like… Ben tried to scramble,” Arkansas sophomore safety Joe Foucha said. “We’re back there as a secondary, so if a quarterback is scrambling trying to throw the ball, that’s a good thing. That means we’re holding up back there. That’s how that play went.”
Hicks was asked if the belt would be on the line for Saturday’s 3 p.m. Red-White game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium and who would win if the units wrestled for the belt.
“It would definitely be the offense because we’re so tired about hearing about the dang belt,” Hicks said.
Foucha said ultimately they are all in it together regardless who has the belt.
“ I said to myself the day they won it, ‘That’s a good thing,” Foucha said. “That means iron sharpens iron. They’re getting the job done.’ We won the belt today because I feel like as a whole we’re improving a lot. We still have a whole lot room to learn from this spring.”
As a graduate transfer from SMU, where he was a redshirt freshman for Morris in 2015 and his starting quarterback in 2016 and 2017 before Morris came to Arkansas, Hicks obviously will be playing his one and only Red-White game Saturday.
And it will be his first outing before Razorbacks fans other than than former Razorbacks, recruits and various invitees to the otherwise closed practices.
“ Yeah I’m excited. It’s going to be fun, a good atmosphere,” Hicks said. “We’re just excited to get back in there and have the fans there. We’ve had a great spring. We just want to showcase what we’ve been working on.”
The setting will be different with the fans but the format will like the previous Saturday scrimmages, Hicks presumes.
“I just know what we’ve done in the past with Coach Morris and it’s typically offense, defense,” Hicks said. “It’s similar to what we’ve been doing. It’s just gonna be a scrimmage like we’ve been doing on Saturdays. We’re not gonna split it up into two teams. I don’t think we have enough depth for that. I think guys are gonna be rotating. We’ll see what happens.”
Agim, likely to be withheld from Saturday’s game as an experienced mainstay the staff won’t risk for a spring game injury, recalled the excitement of the spring game being his first game since he first arrived at the UA in January as a December high school graduate.
“I was actually talking to one of the freshmen ( December high school graduate defensive back Devin Bush) today,” Agim said. “I remember my first time playing in the spring game fresh out of high school. It’s just a surreal feeling. You get to put on those pads, have that Razorback on the side of your helmet and actually run out of the tunnel, it’s a great feeling. I’m really happy for them and I’m ready for them to be able to experience running out of that A as well.”
Coming off a 2-10 overall/0-8 SEC 2018 under a then-brand new staff, it behooves those Razorbacks here this time last spring to deem this team improved from the previous April.
They do, say the ones asked Thursday.
“I feel like with us, we’re all more comfortable with the offense because this is our second year,” Arkansas senior receiver Deon Stewart said. “We’ve got some young guys, but a lot of them are coming along well and are in the playbook pretty good. I definitely feel like the offense is better than it was at the end of 2018, but we’ve still got a lot of stuff to put in and I’m sure we’ll take of that in the summer and fall camp.”
Agim said spring drills started with a 2-10 hangover but aren’t ending that way.
“It’s definitely come a great deal from where it started,” Agim said. “I feel like we were in that 2-10 area still, and we’ve been trying to leave that behind us. I feel like we’re doing a great job of that right now.”