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Jefferson returns to practice as Hogs prepare for Ole Miss

by The Associated Press | November 18, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Quarterback KJ Jefferson participated at the front of the line in footwork and passing drills Tuesday, perhaps indicating the University of Arkansas junior is preparing to return to the starting lineup for Saturday's 6:30 p.m. game against No. 14 Ole Miss.

Reporters were able to view the first 15 or so minutes of practice Tuesday as the Razorbacks worked on their outdoor practice fields in temperatures hovering in the mid-30s.

Jefferson missed last week's 13-10 loss against No. 7 LSU as he continued to recover from a right shoulder injury. The 6-3, 242-pounder is 14-7 as the starter the past two seasons, and the Razorbacks are 0-2 in games he does not start.

Coach Sam Pittman said he expected to have Jefferson back in action this week and senior offensive tackle Luke Jones gave him a thumbs up from Tuesday's work.

"I think he did good," Jones said. "He's looking good. He's looking healthy. We're excited to have him back this week." Arkansas could get several starters back this week. Right tackle Dalton Wagner sat out with a back issue against the Tigers, and nickel back Myles Slusher could be back in action after a suspension following his arrest on disorderly conduct allegations. Pittman said he would remark on Slusher's availability today.

Playing cold

Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman said he'd like a "freeze out" kind of game Saturday to make things uncomfortable for Ole Miss, which is practicing in slightly warmer weather this week. Several of the Razorbacks said they would like the same.

"They're coming into our place, it'll be cold as all get out, and they won't have anybody cheering for them," defensive end Zach Williams said. "So I feel like it's going to be one up on us. I'm ready for it." Offensive tackle and Illinois native Dalton Wagner agreed.

"I'd love it to get as cold as it possibly can," Wagner said. "I love the cold and I think it brings an advantage, definitely, to the home team that's been practicing in it all week, that the colder it gets the better off we can get."

Expecting KJ

Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin paid a compliment to his counterpart Sam Pittman when asked if he thought the Rebels could see up to three quarterbacks from Arkansas on Saturday after KJ Jefferson sat out last week's 13-10 loss to LSU, and Malik Hornsby and Cade Fortin played in his stead.

"I don't know," Kiffin said. "It sounds like KJ will be back just from what they've said, and I feel like Sam kind of doesn't play a lot of games in the media, just kind of says what it is with injuries and stuff. I think he's been pretty open that they expect him back."

Smith nominated

Arkansas running backs coach Jimmy Smith was announced Tuesday as the Razorbacks' nominee for the Broyles Award, which is given annually to college football's top assistant coach.

Smith, who oversees 1,100-yard rusher Raheim Sanders and others as part of the nation's 12th-ranked rushing attack, is one of 51 nominees for the award created by former Razorback David Bazzel.

A native of Darlington, S.C., Smith joined Coach Sam Pittman's first staff in early 2020. He is rated one of the best recruiters on the staff, having played a key role is landing backs AJ Green, Rashod Dubinion and James Jointer and having a hand in signing Dominique Johnson.

Other SEC assistants who are nominees: Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding, Florida offensive coordinator Rob Sale, Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken, LSU defensive coordinator Matt House, Ole Miss running backs coach Marquel Blackwell, South Carolina special teams coordinator Pete Lembo and Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh.

Print Headline: Jefferson returns to practice as Hogs prepare for Ole Miss

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