HOGS: Warren out; Pittman back soon
FAYETTEVILLE - De’Vion Warren’s greatest season as a Razorback has ended prematurely.
The senior wide receiver (in UA photo above) tore the anterior cruciate ligament in a knee Saturday night during Arkansas’ 63-35 loss at Florida. Warren will miss the remainder of the season, starting with LSU in Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The SEC Network will televise the game.
“De’Vion Warren is out,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said Monday. “I hate it for him, but he’s got a good attitude about it. I feel terrible that it happened.”
A four-year letterman who played for under Bret Bielema and Chad Morris regimes, Warren had only seven catches for 33 yards entering the 2020 season. In all seven games for these 3-4 Razorbacks, Warren caught 15 passes for 278 yards and three TDs, ran four reverses netting 44 yards and returned six kickoffs for 120 yards, with a long one of 32.
Because of the hardships invoked by the covid-19 coronavirus, 2020 seniors are eligible to return with 2021 eligibility. Warren is among the seniors Pittman hoped would return.
NEXT MAN UP
In Arkansas’ top three receivers rotation with Treylon Burks (34 catches for 508 yards and five TDs) and Mike Woods (23 catches for 413 yards and four TDs), Warren likely will be replaced by senior Ty Morris, a Helena native and Fayetteville High alum with five catches for 47 yards and a TD this season. Sophomore Trey Knox has four receptions for 33 yards.
What about younger receivers? Could touted true freshman receiver Darin Turner of Memphis get on the field?
“When you start asking that question, Darin was the first one that popped to my mind,” Pittman said. “He’s been in and out of some quarantines and some different things that probably have hurt his development. But we have Trey Knox, and Trey will step in there along with Morris. Those guys will do well no doubt in my mind.
"But the young guys, certainly Darin would be the one we would travel and move up into one of those nine spots.”
Redshirt freshman tight end Hudson Henry, dressed but not used against Florida, was set to practice Monday, Pittman said. So were, he said, tight end Blake Kern and safety Joe Foucha, both banged up during the Florida game.
“I think Kern will be fine,” Pittman said, “and I think Joe will be fine.”
Pittman includes himself in the "will be fine,” category.
In covid-19 quarantine since Nov. 9 which included staying home Saturday night while his Hogs lost to Florida, Pittman is optimistic he will test covid-19 negative and return to the office and practice field after a week of meeting with his team and staff on Zoom.
“I feel really good,” Pittman said. “I’ll be back in the office on Wednesday. I sure appreciate everybody. Ol’ Daddy told me a long time ago the world don’t rotate around my butt, but it sure felt like it with all the well wishes and all those things and I sure do appreciate it.”
Asked about the covid symptoms that affected him, Pittman cited fatigue and a sore back.
How difficult was it watching Saturday night’s game on TV quarantined in a pool house with his bulldog, Lucy?
“Watching the game was difficult because you are just not there and for whatever reason you feel like your presence might have something to do with the game,” Pittman said. “I don't want to give myself that much credit, but I just missed being around the guys.”
Since he’s even quarantined from his wife, Jamie, Lucy was his lone TV companion.
“Lucy doesn't say much, and she wasn't too much into the game you know,” Pittman said. “So, I kinda had to be myself on that one.”
While Pittman missed a game, his team has played every game scheduled so far.
Coach Ed Orgeron’s Tigers have endured two covid-19 postponements. The first vs. Florida because the Gators suffered an early-season outbreak, and then LSU suffered its own outbreak and postponed last week's game scheduled against Alabama.
“You know, it’s unfortunate for them because they haven’t played in 21 days,” Pittman said.