FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas defeated Louisiana Tech 21-20 in the season opener last Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Now, the Razorbacks shift their focus to a tough road test at No. 13 TCU in Week 2. Coach Bret Bielema addressed the media Monday to discuss the win and talk TCU.
Here’s the rundown of Saturday’s action.
- The win over Louisiana Tech provided a “lot of good football lessons” for the team.
- Offensive MVPs from Saturday: Running back Rawleigh Williams III and wide receiver Keon Hatcher.
- Defensive MVPs from Saturday: Middle linebacker Brooks Ellis and defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. Bielema said Ellis had no mental busts in the game. He says he’s not sure if he’s ever had that.
- Bielema took the team out on the field to make corrections Sunday after watching the film.
- The defense did a lot of different things “coverage wise” and Bielema feels they did a good job holding them to 20 points.
- “TCU presents a unique situation to see a quarterback we’ve already played,” Bielema says in reference to Kenny Hill, who played against Arkansas in 2014 while at Texas A&M.
- Tight end Austin Cantrell should practice tomorrow and should be ready to go by Saturday. He had a perceived head injury. Bielema says taking him out Saturday was precautionary.
- Cornerback Kevin Richardson is out for the season with a significant pectoral injury. He was the starting nickelback Saturday. Bielema says D.J. Dean will be ready to play Saturday. He had a hamstring injury that kept him out against La. Tech and he should replace Richardson.
- Bielema says he’s excited about the offensive line and thinks they’ll have huge improvements in Week 2. He was actually pleased with everything after watching the film. The unit was widely scrutinized after the game for their struggles, including giving up four sacks.
- Left guard Hjalte Froholdt had no mental mistakes. He is just still adjusting to the offensive line after converting from the defensive line in the spring. Bielema believes he can learn from the mistakes he made Saturday.
- Ryan Pulley will now take over at cornerback on the outside and starting corner Henre’ Toliver will shift to nickelback with Richardson out for the season.
- Two nice surprises out of Saturday: The ability of Randy Ramsey to rush the passer and freshmen McTelvin Agim and Austin Capps on the interior defensive line.
- TCU is “going to spread and they’ll go as fast as you can go.” Bielema says the team will have to be on their game to be ready for that.
- Bielema says things are getting more even between the Power 5 and non Power 5 schools for a variety of reasons.
- Bielema felt the offense wasn’t perfect Saturday, but doesn’t have any issues that can’t be corrected. He felt quarterback Austin Allen played well. He points out the receivers had four drops and one of his two interceptions wasn’t his fault.
- Freshman running back Devwah Whaley was great after the game despite only receiving two carries against Louisiana Tech. He understood the flow of the game. Bielema didn’t want to put him in a tough situation late in the game as a true freshman.
- Keon Hatchers was “the Keon I saw of old.” He was “locked in,” very physical and it was “fun to see him compete.”
- Freshman running back would ideally have graded out better, but Bielema says he learned and played well in the second half. Bielema says he desperately wants to be a good player and key contributor.
- TCU’s defense is a “very unique preparation” since they run a 4-2-5. Bielema says they’re very talented.