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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas coach Chad Morris is shown during practice Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Fayetteville. - Photo by Ben Goff

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas football Coach Chad Morris and his staff's first on-campus summer camp of 2019 was short on attention span and talent, but big on fun.

The annual youth camp featuring ages 5 through 11 grew from last year's 137 campers to more than 240 on Monday.

Two young campers had cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator Mark Smith laughing.

"We had one that was really exhausted out on the field and he laid down, and another kid tried to come up and give him fake CPR as if he was passed out," Smith said. "Then they both jumped right up and switched positions, and the other one did CPR on the other kid."

One camper had safeties coach Ron Cooper guessing.

"I had one who said he had to go to the potty, and when we were taking him to the potty, he wanted a cup of water," Cooper said. "I think he was a little mixed up on what he wanted."

Morris met one of his well-wishers from Christmas.

"The first thing ... he asked me, 'Did you get my note at Christmas.' He had written me a note at Christmas, and I said, 'I did get it' " Morris said. "I remember getting that note from him."

Several Razorback players worked at the camp, including quarterbacks Ben Hicks and Nick Starkel; offensive linemen Kirby Adcock, Dalton Wagner, Colton Jackson and Myron Cunningham; tight end Cheyenne O'Grady; running back Devwah Whaley; and linebacker Grant Morgan.

The 6-6, 300-pound Cunningham was the favorite of a camper from Horatio.

"He was all fun and funny," 9-year-old Diego Munoz said. "When he was trying to block us, he would like fall down and play along with us."

Diego's father, Pedro Gonzalez, appreciated how the Arkansas coaches and players taught his son and others the fundamentals.

"To me, this was fun because you got to see how real football players practice," Gonzalez said. "It was interesting for the kids and the parents."

During a picture session with Morris, the all-important topic of refreshments came up.

"What color is the Gatorade?" Morris said.

John Campbell of Jonesboro brought his 6-year-old son Noah to the camp. He praised Morris and special assistant Sean Tuohy for the camp's organization.

"We didn't know he would have such a good time," Campbell said. "They make everyone feel like a part of the team and family out here."

Offensive line coach Dustin Fry said having his own kids made the youth camp even more enjoyable.

"For us not to have to come out here and evaluate, it's really not work right now," Fry said. "It's just a lot of fun, and having kids come out on a perfect day and perfect weather and just have fun with the kids."

There was a common question the campers asked Fry.

"When's lunch? When are we going to eat, and I agree with them," Fry said with a smile. "When are we going to eat?"

Defensive tackles coach Kenny Ingram, who with his wife Carla has five children, was seen connecting on high-fives with campers.

"When I'm out here as a coach, I keep that in mind the same experience I would like my own kids to have, I want to make sure I re-create for these kids," Ingram said.

Ingram encouraged the kids to show off their mean faces.

"When they come over here I try to make them make a football face, and some of them have some very intimidating football faces," he said. "I don't want to be on the other side of them.

"Just seeing them laugh and play, that's great for me."

One the more enthusiastic campers was 3-foot, 68-pound Thrasher from Little Rock whose grandfather, Jamie Jones, played on the 1971 Arkansas team. He was proud of his effort in an one-on-one drill.

"Well I almost pushed him down, but not really, but I was really strong," the 5-year-old said.

Morris enjoyed seeing so many family members and kids at the camp.

"It's great having kindergartners through fifth-graders out here," he said. "It just shows so much of the love and the passion our fan base has for the Hogs and starting them at a young age."

Email Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

Sports on 06/11/2019

Print Headline: Youthful UA campers keep mood light

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