Chad Morris made it pretty clear after Arkansas’ scrimmage Saturday how the decision-making process to pick a starter is going to go.
“We’ll sit and talk as a staff,” he said. “They all have one vote and I’ve got one more than all of them.”
Morris may like some new things in football (temp offensively, using two practice fields), but make no mistake that there is still that old-school coach.
Whether you like his decisions or not, the final one on everything with Razorback football is his decision. Others may have some input, but it’s his call and he doesn’t try to dodge the responsibility at all.
“We’ll decide as a staff,” he said about choosing a quarterback. “When we walk out of the staff room…we’re all 100 percent on board, whether that’s the starting center or the starting linebacker. We’re all on board at that point.”
The prevailing thought all through summer and the first few weeks of fall camp has been Ben Hicks will be the starter against Portland State in less than two weeks, but Nick Starkel may take over … sooner rather than later to some.
On Saturday, though, it was John Stephen Jones that got the first name mention by Morris.
“The guy’s a player,” he said about a redshirt freshman most keep trying to dismiss, including a lot of folks who think they know what they’re talking about. “He gets out there and there’s a lot of really good things happening.”
Last week, offensive coordinator Joe Craddock talked about Jones’ ability to put the ball in the end zone. Saturday he took the first team on a drive in a two-minute drill and put another touchdown on the board, then Connor Limpert came on to kick a situational game-winning extra point.
“I was very impressed with him,” Morris said.
In reviewing the scrimmage, Morris had positives about Hicks and Starkel (apparently it wasn’t a great day for freshman K.J. Jefferson, who failed to get into field-goal position during his two-minute drill).
But for the second Saturday scrimmage it was Jones making a key play that got everybody’s attention.
“It’s a tough battle,” wide receiver De’Vion Warren said. “Like I said, they have their good days and their bad days. Today was pretty even and both were making good plays. Even John Stephen was making good plays with his feet and his arm. It was an even battle today.”
The players have made it clear they aren’t picking a side … at least publicly. Even center Ty Clary.
“Typically to my knowledge, I’m not the OC or the head coach,” he said Saturday. “I don’t get to make this decision.”
He sounded kinda like he was glad he doesn’t have to make that call. Apparently there are positives and negatives with every one of them.
And despite everybody’s best efforts, Morris is actually pretty convincing when he is asked who’s out front on the whole thing.
“It just depends on what day you ask me,” he said. “Some days it’s one, some days the other.”
The guess here is we won’t hear anything until Wednesday evening at the absolute earliest. That’s the next media avail.
“We’re getting closer, but again, we’re evaluating it,” Morris said. “I want to go through definitely Wednesday and see where we’re at.”
Guessing who it will be is pointless. Nobody has seen enough to really be making that call.
It will be a committee of one.