FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — This spring, junior linebacker Dre Greenlaw is right back where he was for most of the 2016 regular season: Watching practice and wearing a boot on his right foot.
At least he’s losing the boot, which was scheduled to come off Tuesday night shortly after his quick session with reporters.
Greenlaw broke his foot during Arkansas’ Oct. 8 home loss to Alabama and missed the remainder of the regular season, but returned to practice a couple weeks before the Belk Bowl. He played in that game but reinjured the foot early in the third quarter, he said.
“It was very frustrating,” Greenlaw said. “I just got tired of sitting out. That’s the hardest part, just sitting on the sideline and watching your team, knowing you can’t do anything to help them.”
Making matters a bit more frustrating this spring is that Arkansas is installing a brand new defense and Greenlaw is being forced to learn it without actually being able to practice.
To help make up for that, Greenlaw is working as what coach Bret Bielema has called both a “mini-assistant coach” and a coaching “internship” while Greenlaw undergoes virtually the exact same rehabiliation he went through last fall.
Greenlaw said that he’s able to provide a different sort of guidance to his teammates because he frequently meets with inside linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves before practice, so he can relay information to other players as they make mistakes or ask questions.
Sophomore De’Jon Harris — working as the team’s first team MIKE linebacker — said Greenlaw can, in some ways, relate to his teammates better than the coaches can.
“Dre can actually see as a player,” Harris said. “He can relate better to us. He’s right there behind us and he’s helping us.”
Greenlaw said he hopes to start running again in a couple of weeks.