FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema addressed the media Monday as the No. 17 Razorbacks prepare to face No. 10 Texas A&M in their SEC opener Saturday.
The Hogs are coming off a 42-3 win over Texas State.
Here’s the rundown of what Bielema had to say.
- Bielema on the Texas State film: “The changes we made in the offensive line had some benefit right away.” Mentions Frank Ragnow’s move from center to right guard, where he is now the starter.
- The team “turned the page pretty quickly” from the win over Texas State.
- Bielema says 6 of the 7 kicks for kickoff man Connor Limpert were very good, which is something he liked to see.
- Wide receiver Jared Cornelius should be “full go” Tuesday and be ready to play Saturday after missing the Texas State game due to a sore back.
- Bielema on losing to Texas A&M in overtime the past two seasons: “We’ve lost it, but they’ve earned it. We haven’t earned it yet.”
- Bielema on Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight: “He’s got a lot of experience. He’s a big body that has been successful in the QB run game. He’s a very talented player that knows how to win. He won on the big stage at Oklahoma.”
- Brian Wallace and Colton Jackson are “even” at right tackle despite Wallace being listed as the starter this week. Bielema says the same can be said at center where Jake Raulerson is the listed starter.
- Bielema on QB Austin Allen: “Austin does a lot of good things well. I think he throws on the move well. He throws to the left and the right well.” Bielema says he can also run, but they would like to limit asking him to do so.
- With the offensive line situation the team is looking to get the best group out there depending on who they’re playing. Bielema says in some cases it may take two players to be one, meaning some guys might not be ready to play a full game.
- Ragnow at right guard “might be best suited for Frank.” Bielema likes having him between two inexperienced players at center and guard that he can help out.
- “We have to prepare better” than they did against TCU to stop the quarterback run this week. “I think Trevor is a deceptive big man with speed.” Bielema says they have to play it better, but also points out they did a good job against Texas State, who had a mobile quarterback.
- Bielema had a conversation during fall camp with Brian Wallace and his father about how Wallace wasn’t where the team expected him to be. Since then, Bielema says Wallace has really dedicated himself and earned the playing time he’s receiving now.
- Bielema on Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett: “He’s a very special player and he’s got a lot of players around him.”
- Bielema on the Texas A&M defense: “I think this A&M team is one of the best we face in this league, but on defense especially.”
- Bielema now sees Texas A&M has a commitment to the run game they previously didn’t have. Other than that, the offense looks very similar to past years.
- Freshman linebacker De’Jon Harris was impressive coming in behind Brooks Ellis on Saturday. He and Dwayne Eugene can come in behind Ellis and Dre Greenlaw at linebacker this week.
- Bielema is unsure if Jared Cornelius will return punts this week.
- Freshman running back T.J. Hammonds is expected to contribute going forward as a potential kick and punt returner.
- Wide receiver Keon Hatcher has been very good on his own and getting the other receivers up to speed and ready to go.
- The kickoff return team “is a unit that really has to be better playing in the SEC.” Bielema adds “we haven’t shown a new return yet through three games for a reason. We haven’t shown a lot yet, but I think that’s a good thing.”
- Bielema on freshman running back Devwah Whaley: “I would’ve liked to get him another 5 or 6 carries (against Texas State).” Bielema says it looked like he was about ready to break one and the team feels good about playing him more going forward.
- Linebacker Khalia Hackett has been removed from the travel roster. Bielema said he hasn’t been productive enough on the field with his assignments.
- Bielema on wide receiver Drew Morgan: “I think there’s a little bit of showmanship we’re trying to get cleaned up.”