Hogs and Wildcats Fill Voids Left by Key Injuries
This weekend, two injury depleted teams that are led by coaches that very well may not be around after this season will face off as they try to salvage what they can of their football seasons.
The one bit of good news for Razorback fans is that sophomore cornerback Tevin Mitchel will play Saturday against Kentucky.
Tight end Chris Gragg will not play and running back Ronnie Wingo Jr. is questionable. The Hogs will continue to play without the four players that are out for the season: Tenarius Wright, Alonzo Highsmith, Kiero Small and Kody Walker.
“The next has to get in there and he has to produce,” defensive coordinator Paul Haynes said of the injuries. “Our expectations have not changed.”
Despite the large numbers of injuries the Razorbacks have had to manage, they have found a team that has it worse.
The Kentucky Wildcats have endured multiple injuries, a large percentage of them on the defensive side of the ball.
Senior defensive backs Martavius Neloms and Mikie Benton are dealing with hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively. Sophomore safety Ashely Lowery is recovering from a head injury, and none of these three players will take the field against Arkansas.
The Wildcats lost starting junior safety Dakotah Tyler for the season with a torn ACL. Sophomore linebacker/safety is day-to-day with a hamstring injury.
Kentucky also has injuries piling up at one of the most important positions on the field, the quarterback position.
Starting sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith suffered an ankle injury against South Carolina two weeks ago and could be out the rest of the season.
Playing time was being split between freshmen Patrick Towles, who is a Kentucky native and was a four star recruit, and Jalen Whitlow. However, Towles was hurt on his third series of the game last weekend and is out indefinitely.
“I have always taken the attitude of ‘next guy up,’” said Joker Phillips, Kentucky’s head football coach. “We went into some big games with some guys that haven’t gotten snaps at a lot of different positions and won some of them.
“We are going to go into this one the same way with the same attitude,” Phillips added.
Kentucky’s two deep in the defensive backfield features on senior, one sophomore and six true freshmen, two of which are walk-ons.
Twenty-three of the 30 defensive players making the trip to Fayetteville this weekend are either freshmen or sophomores.