HOGS: Agim, Gerald weigh in; notes
FAYETTEVILLE - The sum of Dorian Gerald’s loss and Sosa Agim’s gain seems to add up better for Arkansas’ defensive line.
Agim, the senior from Hope, upped his 6-3, 279 frame to 296, moving from swinging between defensive end and defensive tackle full-time inside to tackle.
Coach Chad Marshall and strength coach Trumain Carroll tout Agim for adding “good weight” that increasing his strength without sacrificing quickness.
Meanwhile Gerald, the senior defensive end whose junior college graduation transfer arrival to the UA last year occurred after the August preseason practices began, practices at 261 pounds instead of the 283 last year on his 6-3 frame.
“I’ve lost 30, he gained 30,” Gerald said after Thursday’s practice. “I think that’s the way it was supposed to have been the whole time. I was a little big.”
Gerald agrees that Agim is even better bigger. “He’s moving faster, to me, honestly,” Gerald said. “I think he’s pulling the right weight.”
As for his own situation at end, less is more, Gerald said.
“I feel a lot faster,” said Gerald, who had summer conditioning in Fayetteville he didn’t have last year while finishing his courses at College of the Canyons (Calif.) Community College. “I feel how I’m supposed to feel. Last year, I came in, I was too sluggish. Last year I couldn’t go more than four or five plays (without relief). Now I can go 10 plays. Going a full year in Coach Tru’s strength and conditioning, I can tell a big difference.”
SCOOTA THE THIEF
Agim and Gerald seize starring roles up front, but for defensive consistency, no current Razorback matches senior middle linebacker De’Jon “Scoota” Harris.
Last year’s SEC leading tackler, Harris is this preseason camp’s leading thief.
“Scoota is leading the team in picks (interceptions) right now,” Gerald said.
Reports come daily of Harris’ interceptions, including at the expense of graduate transfer quarterbacks Ben Hicks and Nick Starkel.
“They were good throws,” Harris said Thursday. “I was just there at the right time.”
Improving his pass defense has been Harris’ goal since he and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach John “Chief” Chavis met for dinner as Harris pondered declaring for the 2019 NFL draft or returning to the UA for his senior season.
“That’s one of the things me and Chief came together after the season and tried to focus on,” Harris said. “I’ve been trying to get out early and had a couple of tipped balls to me from the D-line, just at the right place at the right time.”
Called the team’s strongest man by strength coach Carroll before the August practices began, junior backup defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall plans to be the strongest when the season concludes.
Marshall weighs 304 on a 6-3 frame that Carroll said is so strong he’s “a freak athlete,” but the strength coach said that frame dwindled to 275 as last season wore on.
“I’ve got to maintain it better,” Marshall said. “I’ve switched up my eating habits. So I’m doing a lot better. I’m in a good spot right now, running behind some good people, (returning senior starting tackles) T.J. (Smith) and Sosa. But I feel like me pushing them is making all of us better.”
True freshman tight end Hudson Henry of Little Rock and Pulaski Academy and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols of Springdale are injury sidelined and likely will not scrimmage Saturday.
FORMER COACHES RETURN
Former UA assistant coaches Ken Turner, later the head coach at Henderson State after coaching tight ends and a string of Razorbacks All-America kickers Bill McClard, Steve Little, Ish Ordonez, Steve Cox, Bruce Lahay, Greg Horne and Kendall Trainor for Frank Broyles, Lou Holtz and Ken Hatfield, and Pat Jones, the former Oklahoma State head coach and current sports talk radio show host in Tulsa, and former Razorback and retired Springdale High School coaching legend Jarrell Williams were among those attending Thursday’s practice.