FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema addressed the media Sunday during the program’s media day.
The Razorbacks have held three practices so far during fall camp.
Here’s the rundown of what Bielema had to say.
- The team only lifted weights on Sunday, taking the day off from practice after holding their first three the previous three days.
- Bielema apologized for not mentioning the injury of freshman Giovanni LaFrance when he met with the media on Thursday. He has a hand injury and is in a full cast. He is not on the 105-man roster, but he had a “great summer” and is in good standing with the program. Bielema said he had to “mend the wounds” with him for not mentioning why he wasn’t on the 105-man roster.
- Wide receiver Luke Rossi has a hamstring injury and is no longer on the 105-man roster. Wide receiver Troy Allison will replace him.
- Bielema says he tells his players to be themselves and enjoy their interactions with the media. He enjoyed watching his players at SEC Media Days earlier this summer.
- Bielema: “I know this team better than any I’ve had here at Arkansas.” He says he knows everything about his players.
- He had 11 seniors break up and draft 10-man teams to compete against each other based on accountability on the field and in the classroom.
- No walk-ons have been awarded scholarships yet in fall camp.
- Bielema “feels good” about where the team is at, but emphasizes how difficult the schedule and SEC West can be.
- Yesterday was a “very productive practice” as the first one in full pads.
- The offensive line is going to continue to be a work in progress throughout most of fall camp with the goal of finding the best five guys and getting them on the field.
- Bielema questioned the commitment of wide receiver Dominique Reed on Thursday. He says he did so because of his inability to fill out a NCAA form to be ready for the first day. He says he’s had a nice start to camp, but needs to continue to work to earn significant playing time.
- Bielema likes the five or six cornerbacks they have. He says they all look really good so far.
- Senior wide receiver Keon Hatcher is trying to build a relationship with new starting quarterback Austin Allen. Bielema likes where Hatcher is at and he looks to be 100 percent after missing most of last season with a foot injury.
- Bielema has pointed out to his team about having discipline in order to help get off to a better start. He says the team had an uncharacteristic amount of penalties in the three early-season losses last season.
- Tight end C.J. O’Grady has great hands “75 percent of the time.” Bielema couldn’t be happier with him, but he still has some work to do. He is excited about the tight end group overall.
- Freshman fullback Hayden Johnson has worked a lot as the starter, but Bielema says they’ll also use the tight ends and reserve offensive and defensive linemen.
- Bielema sounds excited about having both of his coordinators back.
- Offensive lineman Frank Ragnow “transcends the offensive line” mold. He runs with the tight ends and skill players and hangs out with those guys a lot.
- Bielema says he could see 5-15 of the true freshman coming in and playing. He likes to play guys if they can it mentally from the games to the classwork to being away from home for the first time.
- Quarterbacks: Austin Allen has gotten better every day through the first three days of practice. He is still working through situations he’s never been in before as a first-year starter. Backup Rafe Peavey has greatly improved since last fall and has shown he has a strong desire to be good player. Ty Storey is throws the ball well, but needs to continue to show improvement. Ricky Town “probably tires to predetermine” his throws too much, but is playing the best he’s played since he’s been at Arkansas. Freshman Cole Kelly “stands out” at 6-foot-7 and still has to learn the position better at the college level.
- Tight ends coach Barry Lunney is a “coordinator in waiting” and has impressed Bielema since he’s been here. Bielema bounces a lot of thoughts and ideas off of him.
- “Great choices” at kick returner and lists several options including Dominique Reed, DJ Dean, Jared Collins, TJ Hammonds and Drew Morgan.