With just over a week before Arkansas opens its season against Western Carolina, coach Sam Pittman is focused on getting his players healthy.
Arkansas practiced Friday and will again Saturday before starting game-week preparations for the Catamounts begin in earnest Monday. Heading into that prep work, the Hogs are a bit short-handed.
The good news is Pittman doesn’t think those injuries, outside of one, should limit participation in the opener.
“I don’t think that we’ll have anybody miss a game except for obviously (Sam) Mbake,” Pittman said. “We do have some guys with some ankle injuries. Some things of that nature that we’ve got to get healed up between now and when we play next Saturday.”
All-SEC guard Brady Latham, projected starting left tackle Devon Manuel and potential starters Antonio Grier at linebacker and Kee’yon Stewart at cornerback have missed practices lately. If they were all to miss, Arkansas might be in rough shape were it any other opponent but the FCS Catamounts.
Andrew Chamblee has spent the better part of the last couple weeks working at left tackle with Manuel out and Amaury Wiggins has taken reps as Latham’s replacement next to him on the first team.
The way Pittman sounded, though, was that both Manuel and Latham should be good to go by September 2.
“Really proud of where we’ve been,” Pittman said. “I wish we weren’t as banged up as we are right now, but I believe that by Monday, at least half, maybe more of the guys that we’re holding from the good-on-good section will be back.”