FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas has struggled to protect quarterback Austin Allen all season. The Hogs (5-3, 1-3 SEC) have allowed a SEC-worst 21 sacks and Allen has taken several more brutal hits on passing plays.
Arkansas’ 56-3 loss at Auburn last Saturday might have been the offensive line’s worst performance yet. Allen was sacked three times in the first quarter alone and suffered a sprained right knee after being hit while under heavy pressure in the second quarter.
“Personally, I’m embarrassed and ashamed that he has to get knocked every week,” senior left tackle Dan Skipper said Tuesday. “It shouldn’t be like that. We need to have enough intestinal fortitude to step up and body up and be men and protect him.
“(Allen) is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met. He proves that week in and week out.”
Allen left the Auburn game momentarily with the knee injury, but returned and is expected to play Nov. 5 against Florida following the Hogs’ by week. The junior first-year starter leads the SEC with 18 touchdown passes this season. On Tuesday, he wanted no part of throwing his offensive line under the bus and was confident the unit could improve.
“My focus is keeping my eyes downfield and delivering the ball at the right time,” Allen said. “No one can get down on anyone else because it’s a team sport and if one guy’s not playing well then the whole offense isn’t playing well. I know they’ll get right and I’ve just gotta keep trying to do the best I can every single week in preparing and being out there and just doing my job, getting the ball to the playmakers. That’s all people care about and that’s all I can do.”