Arkansas running back Jonathan Williams always jokes with wide receiver Keon Hatcher that he tries too hard to be like him.
The two are roommates, both are big-time playmakers and, mostly importantly, both are injured right now.
“I was the one that was hurt first and now he try to get hurt too,” Williams joked on Thursday while joining coach Bret Bielema’s radio show.
Williams underwent foot surgery before the season and is out for the year, while Hatcher injured his foot during the Razorbacks’ week 2 loss to Toledo. Hatcher, who was the team’s leading receiver last season, was projected to miss at least six weeks, according to Sports Illustrated.
The duo joined Bielema’s radio show on Thursday to provide fans with a glimpse into their recoveries. Neither gave a timetable for their returns, but did explain what it’s like not being on the field with their teammates.
“It’s tough up until kickoff while you watch them warmup, and run outside, and catch passes and stuff like that,” Williams said. “That’s when it’s real tough. But once the ball is kicked off I’m in full fan mode. I am rooting everybody on. I can’t wait for the next play to start. It’s definitely fun. It’s a little harder to watch the offense just because they almost make me want to have a heart attack just because I know what’s supposed to be happening. I kind of like when defense is out there on the field a little bit more.”
The Razorbacks have certainly missed Williams and Hatcher this season while getting off to a 1-2 start. Williams collected 1,190 rushing yards and and 12 touchdowns last season, while being an AP All-SEC second team selection. He and junior Alex Collins were a two-headed monster out the backfield last season, but the only running Williams has been doing this year is on a zero-gravity treadmill and during underwater exercises.
Hatcher, who was the SEC’s leading receiver after two weeks of the season with 198 yards through the air, remains Arkansas’ top receiver despite missing last season. The senior did not provide a timetable for his return, but is doing his best to make sure the Razorbacks’ young receiving corps is prepared for conference play.
“Just guiding them. Making sure they know what they are doing,” Hatcher said. “Just the little nuances throughout the offense and just making sure they know what they are doing and just making sure they have that confidence to know that they can go out and play with whoever.”
Both continue to stay motivated in their recoveries by both the future and their teammates, and show up at the training facility between 6:30-7 a.m. each morning. The duo will both be cheering on their teammates this weekend when Arkansas takes on Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas at 7 p.m.
— Jonathan Williams (@Jwillpart2) September 17, 2015