Arkansas Completes Fourth Mandated Practice

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – He plans on just two full-scale preseason scrimmages knowing he inherits a not deep Razorbacks team coming off successive 0-8 SEC seasons beset with the nation’s toughest schedule.

That said, new Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman sets a hard practice table starting with Tuesday’s first practice in pads.

Arkansas Monday completes its fourth practice mandated by the NCAA and SEC to open with two practices in helmets and shorts then two practices in “shells,” basically helmets and shoulder pads.

We’re going to put them through tough practices,” Pittman said when outlining to media his preseason plans.   “I want to see how we react. that we’re going to dig down and come roaring back the next play. We have to test our football team in practice to see what we have. We can’t wait until Saturday to find out.”

The Razorbacks first of 10 scheduled all SEC opponents Saturdays  awaits Sept. 26 hosting at Reynolds Razorback Stadium  the defending SEC East champion Georgia Bulldogs, ranked fourth in the Coaches Preseason poll before the  Big Ten and  Pac 12 cancelled their football seasons citing COVID-19 corona virus concerns.

Pittman has stayed positive about his Hogs even through last week’s three practices and the SEC, cancelling all of the SEC’s four nonconference games because of COVID-19 and a delayed season’s start,  adding Georgia and a road trip to Preseason Coaches poll No. 8 Florida  to an already brutal SEC schedule hosting No. 3 Alabama, No. 5 reigning national champion LSU,  and Tennessee, Ole Miss and in addition to visiting Florida  visiting No. 11 Auburn, No. 13 Texas A&M, and Mississippi State and Missouri.

“We believe in this football team,” Pittman said.  “We believe in our players. They’ve given us no reason not to, to be honest with you. But I want to put us in some adverse situations so we can figure it out before we go out there on Saturday.”

While the Big Ten and the Pac 12 of the Power Five football conferences have cancelled their seasons as have the Mid-America Conference and the Mountain West, the SEC, ACC and the Big 12 of the Power Five tentatively plan to play on as do the American Athletic Conference, Sun Belt and Conference USA of the Group of Five.

However the leagues playing on extended options not to play but retain their scholarships for any players because of COVID-19 concerns wishing not to play this season.

Offensive lineman Chibueze Nwanna, not seen when media last saw the Razorbacks practice Wednesday followed by Friday’s entirely closed workouts, has opted out of playing this season, it was confirmed Friday.

Nwanna becomes the first known opting  to forego this Razorbacks football season.

A 2019 junior college transfer, Nwanna was not played in a game by the Chad Morris regime last season.

Redshirting just become unnecessary for those leagues and independents playing a 2020 fall men’s and women’s sports schedule.

The NCAA Friday decreed that all 2020 fall sports athletes can start 2021 with their 2020 fall sports eligibility intact.

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