Freshmen Given Adjustment Period
Blocks are missed. Assignments are blown. Coverages are forgotten. Shoelaces are left untied. The list could go on forever.
But honest assessments are made after those first seven days, at least that's the time frame at Arkansas, coach Houston Nutt said Thursday in his office conference room.
After "about a week to 10 days," Nutt knows if a freshman is ready to contribute.
Several freshmen should work their way into the lineup this season. Kicker Alex Tejada, of Springdale, is slated in as the starting kicker. Jermaine Love has a chance at linebacker. As does Damario Ambrose at defensive end, as well as Kareem Crowell, Grant Cook and Seth Oxner at offensive line.
"Usually you'll find out first of all if he's tough," Nutt said. "Is he tough enough to play on this level? Has he graduated from Friday night football yet? Will he put his face in there, especially on defense?"
Tejada Focused For Season
Tejada and Houston Nutt spoke by phone Wednesday morning, 24 hours before the kicker from Springdale reported for preseason camp. Arkansas' football coach said he detected Tejada's focus from the tone in his voice.
"He's ready to go," Nutt said. "I got to the see him play in the (Arkansas high school) all-star game, and I loved the way he kicked in that ball game. He was so accurate and the ball really comes off his foot. I mean, it explodes."
Improving on kicking without a tee presents Tejada's most important task for the preseason, Nutt said.
Tejada has practiced without a tee since his freshman year of high school. He also must earn the right to kick off, Nutt said.
"Brian Vavra should give him a lot of competition on kickoffs," Nutt said.
Norman's Transfer Official
Andrew Norman's plans to transfer were made official Thursday. Norman's release was granted Thursday, said Marvin Caston, the university's compliance director.
Nutt said he spoke with the wide receiver and his father, Robert Norman, on Wednesday night. Nutt cited playing time issues as the main reason for Norman's departure.
"Andrew's been a fine young man and I wish him nothing but the best," Nutt said. "He felt this was in his best interest."
Norman, who joins Mitch Mustain and Damian Williams as the third Springdale High graduate in his class to transfer, could transfer to Tulsa, Robert Norman told The Morning News on Wednesday night. Louisville, North Carolina and Central Arkansas are among other possibilities.
Oxner Recovers Quick
Freshman offensive lineman Seth Oxner didn't expect to report for camp Thursday. He injured his knee in a student-faculty basketball game in May but then underwent surgery and vigorous rehab.
"He's a guy who has worked so hard," Nutt said. "We didn't even have plans to put him in the two-a-day group. But he's worked so hard, so we're going to go ahead and include him."
Open To The Public
The first week of Arkansas' football practices will be open to the public. ... The Razorbacks will be in only helmets on Saturday and Sunday, in helmets and shoulder pads on Monday and in full pads on Tuesday. ... The first day with two practices will be Aug. 10.
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