BRYANT -- Chad Morris is fortunate to be an avid runner.
Since spring football practice ended April 6, the new University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, coach has crisscrossed the state attending various functions, becoming acquainted with devoted fans and getting more than his fill of Arkansas' finest cuisine.
Thursday's tour stop at The Center at Bishop Park included a ton of handshakes, signing a sufficient amount of autographs and, of course, being served a large quantity of catfish with all the fixings.
"I'm a big runner. I love to run," Morris joked before speaking to an estimated crowd of 600 fans. "I try to balance it out and I try to eat as healthy as I can, but you've got to love some catfish and barbecue. You dive in and go after it."
Morris is diving into his new position with gusto and Razorbacks fans attending the meet and greets are loving it.
"Coach Morris is a very energetic guy and I'm so excited that he's our new coach," said Scott Walsh, a board member of the Saline County Razorback Club, which sponsored Thursday's event. "He's a visionary with his offense. ... I'm excited about him, his staff and where this program is headed."
Morris is attempting to revive a program that finished 4-8 (1-7 in the SEC) last season. The new coach said he is encouraged by the amount of support he has seen at the nine state-wide stops he's taken so far.
"To pull into the parking lot and see all the people waiting to get in, it just shows you the passion level and excitement that's all across this great state," Morris said. "I enjoy seeing all the passion and being able to interact with the fans and hear stories. It's really important for them to be able to tell their stories to me and how much the Hogs truly mean to them and their families. Those are the things we'll take back [to Fayetteville] to motivate us. There's so many that are counting on this football team."
Walsh, 41, said he's been a Razorbacks fan his entire life and says Morris is a great fit for the program.
"In my opinion, the offense had gotten a little predictable," Walsh said. "I think we have to innovate. The hurry-up offense is certainly the trend. A lot of the high schools in the area ... the athletes are used to running that offense. I think it's going to help us in recruiting. ... He's just leading us into the future."
As long as there's food being served, the new Razorbacks coach sees more running in his future. Randy Ross, the director of football operations, is Morris' running partner.
"Coach Ross and I have been running for the last three or four years," Morris said. "We try to go 4 1/2 to 5 miles a day. We do that to just get away, get out of the office more than anything."
Sports on 04/20/2018
Print Headline: Hogs' Morris staying on the run in early going