FAYETTEVILLE — Ryan Pulley seems to have “picked” up in spring football where the Arkansas Razorbacks’ best cornerback left off before sidelined the entire 2017 season upon tearing pectoral muscles during last year’s season opener.
The Razorbacks under new coach Chad Morris waged their first two spring practices Friday and Saturday, and Pulley picked off a pass in each.
Saturday’s pick during the closed to media sessions was in full pads live contact after the Razorbacks fulfilled NCAA obligations with Friday’s opening practice in shorts or sweats. said he picked off sophomore first-team quarterback Cole Kelley’s pass during Saturday’s two-minute drill.
“Oh yeah, I ended it with a pick,” Pulley said. “I told the defense I was going to do that. I think we were in press coverage and the receiver ran like a dig and I just jumped it.”
Did he tell Kelley about it?
“I didn't tell him about it,” Pulley said. “I didn't tell him yet.”
He must feel back in the groove with a pick the first day in pads after being out so long.
“ It felt good,” Pulley said. “This was my second one actually. I had one yesterday before you guys left. It felt good coming back and competing with the guys. I think we're going to be pretty good this year.”
The torn pectoral muscles are no longer an issue, the senior from Fort Myers, Fla. said.
“I think I've been healthy since we left before Christmas break for the break,” Pulley said. “I’m 100 percent.”
The offense had a shining moment, too, in the two-minute drill, Morris said, recounting a touchdown pass that December signee become already UA enrolled Razorbacks freshman receiver Michael Woods caught from junior No. 2 quarterback Ty Storey of Charleston.
Morris lauded the senior leadership and practices of guard Hjalte Froholdt and receiver Jared Cornelius.
This time last year 2017 senior Cornelius was starting what he presumed would be his final college spring practices and that he would have begun March, 2018 at the NFL Combine.
Instead Cornelius returns as a fifth-year hardship because of last year’s season ending Game Three Achilles tendon injury that even now has him practicing in a prescribed limited workout green jersey.
“ I feel good,” Cornelius said. “Really they are holding me off on a lot more stuff because I feel like I can do pretty much everything and be able to go full. But they have me taking it slow and I’m fine with that. I think I have a month left on my rehab but we are ahead of schedule.”
What’s so exciting for him so often saying he’s excited to return?
“What isn’t exciting?” Cornelius replied. “It’s a high powered, speed, moving fast, explosive offense. And when other teams are getting tired we are just getting started. We are looking forward to that.”
Speeding most everyone up has been a point of emphasis for Morris and his hurry up, no-huddle offense contagious to the defensive practice pace, too, but there’s one player that Morris says he sometimes requests to slow down: Junior defensive end and Hope High School grad McTelvin “Sosa” Agim.
“His motor runs full, full wide open,” Morris said. “I mean, I'm trying to slow him down in walk through. Man, Sosa, slow down. Just get to where we’re trying to accomplish. He’s very much respected among his peers. He's been around and shared some things with me and wanted to talk about a few things. That's important. It takes an older guy to approach the head coach and just come and talk. That's been impressive.”