FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema addressed the media Monday as the Hogs prepare to face Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl (Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m. ET).
Here’s the rundown of what Bielema had to say:
- Bielema on the time of year: “We’re at a unique time where we don’t have any academics. We’re just preparing for Virginia Tech.” Bielema says the team will practice today and tomorrow, and be off Wednesday and Thursday before heading to Charlotte for the bowl game Friday.
- Sophomore linebacker Dre Greenlaw “continues to look good,” according to Bielema. “Probably going to make a decision with him later in the week, whether we’re going full-speed ahead with him or not.”
- Senior wide receiver Cody Hollister won’t play in the bowl game after having surgery on his foot.
- Senior running back Kody Walker will get his foot evaluated today to see if he can play.
- Junior wide receiver Jared Cornelius hasn’t been practicing in full, but Bielema says by this time next week he should be full-go. He’s not expected to miss the bowl game.
- Bielema on his junior college signees: “What I made a big commitment is if we were going to go the junior college route is I wanted to know a lot about these kids.” Bielema says he did that this year.
- On wide receiver signees Brandon Martin and Jonathan Nance: “I feel really good about those two guys. Both have really unique qualities. (Jonathan) Nance is a really gifted athlete. He probably reminds you a little the style of play of J-Red (Jared Cornelius). He can move around really well. Great hands, very mature. Brandon Martin is a very big, powerful, fast and kind of a Keon-type guy by nature is what you would describe him as. He’s a guy we’re very excited to get our hands on.”
- On tight end signee Jeremy Patton: “He is a perfect fit. He came in for a visit in the summer, his dad and mom came in with him, he liked what we had. A lot of people came in on him late, a lot of Pac-12, West Coast schools tried to come in. I think he’s probably the best tight end in the country. He stayed strong and glad to have him.”
- Bielema expected three or four high school commits that have signed their financial aid agreement to practice with the team this week. He is expected a total of 9-11 midterm enrollees.
- Bielema on how he found out his wife was pregnant: “It was a Thursday night. I only get home one night a week and it was the Thursday of, I can’t remember which week now, but it was Thursday night and I came home. We revamped our house a little bit, so she showed me this piece of art. And I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s great.’ She had the Go-Pro out and she was all excited to show me this piece of art. And I’m like, you have to act like you love it. It looked like a big piece of concrete and I know I could have done it for half the cost. I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s great’ and acted excited. Then I turned around and she had all the balloons and a little saying that we always say in our house. It was a pretty cool night. Don’t get those very often. Obviously I’ve never had one in my life, so it was pretty cool.”
- Bielema on Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey and LSU RB Leonard Fournette not playing in bowl games: “These kids have not only the next six months that can shape their future, but when you’re paying the money that some of these people are getting, you’re talking about the next 40 years of their lives. Their children’s lives, and everybody can be affected by this.”
- Freshman RB Devwah Whaley is fine from an injury standpoint, according to Bielema. He did not play in the second half of the regular-season finale against Missouri with a minor leg injury.
- Bielema says bowl practices have allowed them to potentially install some different alignments defensively. “We’re looking at doing some different things and bringing some different pressures off the edge. They’ve got a quarterback (Jerod Evans) that can run, so you’ve got to be aware of that.”
- Bielema on his team not being able to string together wins this season: “I told my guys I’m tired of 50/50 ball. We take one step forward and then one step back. It’s a huge emphasis going into the offseason.”
- Bielema believes it’s been easier for his team to get focused since they’re playing a team that went “toe-to-toe” with Clemson in the ACC title game.