FAYETTEVILLE – For University of Arkansas bonus year senior linebacker Hayden Henry and younger brother third-year sophomore tight end Hudson Henry via Little Rock and Pulaski Academy it’s all in the family loathing Texas coming into Saturday’s 6 p.m. ESPN televised showdown with the now nationally No. 15 Longhorns at a standing room only filled Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Their grandfather, Skip Coffman, played basketball in the early 1960s with Arkansas and Texas arch Southwest Conference rivals.
In their sport, Mark Henry, their father, annually played Razorbacks center or guard vs.Texas from 1988 and 1991 including Arkansas winning its final SWC Texas game
Oldest brother and current NFL tight end Hunter Henry helped the 2014 Hogs rout Texas, 31-7 in the Texas Bowl in Houston.
“ I remember growing up, my dad did not like Texas very much,” Hayden Henry said after Tuesday’s practice. “That was their big rivalry. They did not like Texas. For me, I it’s a big game because it means a lot. We have to be tough and physical and we can do it.”
Tough and on target but not targeting.
Before the Longhorns opened 1-0 late last Saturday afternoon defeating the then 23rd ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, 38-18 in Austin, Texas, Hayden had to sit the first half of Arkansas’ 38-17 season-opening victory over Rice. He was penalized for an automatic game-ejection carrying over from the second half after last season’s last game.
Henry was activated for last Saturday’s second half, but starting senior weakside linebacker Bumper Pool late second half was targeted for a targeting penalty. It benches him for Saturday’s first half against Texas.
Henry will start at weakside ‘backer vs. Texas while Pool paces until the second half.
Henry finished the Rice game at middle linebacker because senior All-American Grant Morgan was targeted for targeting at 8:03 of the first quarter. Morgan can start against Texas having fulfilled second half penalty vs. Rice.
Does all the targeting make Hayden hesitant?
“Doesn’t slow me down at all,” Hayden said. “I know that Bump went down and I’ve got to step up and play my game. I promise you that.”
What can he tell Pool how to handle being first-half idle?
“I mean there’s nothing I can tell him that Coach (Michael) Scherer (the linebackers coach) can’t tell him,” Hayden said. “He’s got to prepare this week like he’s playing in the whole game, just like I did last week. It obviously sucks he’s got to sit out, but I know he’ll be locked in and ready to play the second half.”
Meanwhile Morgan seethes from over three quarters idleness.
“He is ready to play, and he’s been practicing like it,” Hayden said. “So I am pumped to get to go to war with him on Saturday.”
While they must somehow strive to keep their helmets and shoulder pads from colliding with Longhorns headgear, it seems impossible cautiously to hit a moving target like Texas Heisman candidate running back Bijan Robinson.
“He hits the hole downhill,” Henry said. “He’s not afraid to run you over, but he’s also got a great cut. He can juke you out. He also lines up at wide receiver and makes plays for them there. He’s a very dynamic player.”
Bonus Razorbacks senior receiver and Helena native Tyson Morris was asked Tuesday about star receiver Treylon Burks’ practices this week.
With just two practices last week since an Aug. 14 injury as preparation, Burks was obviously rusty against Rice and dropping passes he doesn’t drop.
With a 31-yard one-handed catch, it was Morris igniting quarterback KJ Jefferson from a slow down 17-7 start to a 38-17 finish.
“Treylon looks great,” Morris said. “I feel like he’s back himself again.”
In the meantime Morris made his mark.
“It was a catch that had to be made,” Morris said when asked Tuesday. “We needed a spark on offense and I’m just glad I was the one who was able to get it for us.”