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Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is down to two running backs who went through spring practices.

Austin Allen is the best QB in the SEC, but now he’ll have to prove it

Eric Bolin

With your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points. There is no place like it on the Web.

And then there were two.

Arkansas running back Juan Day’s transfer announcement Wednesday night was not the most surprising thing in the world. Day had 4 carries in his three years (two seasons) with the Razorbacks. But more importantly, it leaves coach Bret Bielema with just two scholarship running backs who went through spring practice.

Devwah Whaley and Maleek Williams both looked good this spring. Whatever “good” means in mostly non-tackle action. Day’s exit and Rawleigh Williams III’s retirement make those two guys supremely important. The only other running back expected to roll entirely, even by fall, is freshman Chase Hayden. T.J. Hammonds could see more time back there than originally anticipated, too.

Good on Day, though. The man was a trooper. And not because he was a lightly used player who gave it everything during practice. We’re not talking Rudy here.

Day is a genuinely nice guy who had some of the absolute worst luck. He missed his entire senior season of high school football because of a torn ACL. Then, spring of what would have been his redshirt freshman year, he blew out the other knee. Day was never the same after that. Not injury-wise nor mentally.

Now his teammates have to be ready mentally. Whaley, Williams and Hayden will have the figurative weight of the offense on their young shoulders. Because, if not, teams will sell out to knock quarterback Austin Allen out of the game.

We saw how that played out last season, even with depth and quality at running back.

It’s go time.

Scenarios galore for Diamond Hogs

The masses agree. If Arkansas beats Texas A&M this weekend, the Razorbacks will almost definitely host an NCAA Tournament Regional at Baum Stadium.

D1Baseball.com just happened to pick the exact same regional on Wednesday as SEC Country did Tuesday. The only difference was the No. 4 seed.

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Arkansas outfielder Luke Bonfield is likely playing in his final collegiate regular-season games this weekend. (Courtesy Arkansas Athletics)

The Razorbacks have to win in College Station first, though. And that isn’t easy. Texas A&M is just a game-and-a-half back of Arkansas in the SEC standings. The Aggies are sixth in the conference standings right now and have three teams within shouting distance to overtake them. Texas A&M may feel like it needs the series just as much as the Diamond Hogs do.

Arkansas has dreams of hosting, though. And finishing top 4 in the SEC would, in theory, make the Razorbacks good enough to do that. The easiest way for the Razorbacks to finish top 4 is to win one more game against Texas A&M than Mississippi State does against LSU. It’s that simple.

Other scenarios exist, too, and they’re varied. Not complex, but varied. But like coaches always say: Arkansas will only focus on controlling what it can control.

Should be fun.

Speaking of fun: How about Arkansas basketball vs Memphis?

This has to get done, right?

Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson told the Jason and John Show out of Memphis, Tenn., the Razorbacks and Tigers are working toward a series starting as soon as next season.

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Arkansas coach Mike Anderson is trying to get Memphis back on the schedule. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Anderson and Tigers coach Tubby Smith are old chums. Smith began his head coaching career at Tulsa, where Anderson played. From there he went to Georgia and Kentucky. Anderson was an assistant under Nolan Richardson with the Razorbacks during most of Smith’s SEC years.

The two schools were staples for nonconference matchups throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Memphis and Arkansas played every regular season from 1991 until 2003. They also met twice in the NCAA Tournament during that stretch. But when Richardson left Arkansas, the showdown went by the wayside. They haven’t played each other since.

Mark me down as “yay” on this thing getting done.


“He’s. A. Freshman. Clap-clap, clap-clap-clap.”

There also is this one …

Baker joins fellow ex-Razorbacks Hunter Henry and Darius Philon with the Chargers.

Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.