FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema addressed the media Monday as the No. 17 Razorbacks prepare to face No. 21 Auburn this Saturday.
The Hogs (5-2, 1-2 SEC) are coming off a 34-30 victory over Ole Miss.
Here’s the rundown of what Bielema had to say:
- Bielema opens by giving credit to Ole Miss. He says he didn’t feel he gave them enough credit after the game Saturday.
- Offensive MVP: RB Rawleigh Williams III. He was also the SEC Offensive Player of the Week.
- Defensive MVP: DT Jeremiah Ledbetter.
- Special teams MVP: P Toby Baker.
- With this week being fall break the players got a break yesterday, because they were able to come back today and “get an extra day on the field” than a normal week.
- Bielema calls facing Auburn a “tremendous task” with an exceptional defense and an offense that is coming along.
- “I was happy with their response,” Bielema says of the defense for how they played against Ole Miss coming off a rough performance against Alabama the previous week.
- Although safety Santos Ramirez forced a fumble with a big hit on Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly, Bielema says ideally he would’ve gone lower and wrapped him up to prevent the first down. But overall he feels Ramirez is playing well and improving every week.
- The targeting call on safety De’Andre Coley was “the right call” and Bielema feels they have to do a better job of communicating to the players on how to avoid that. Coley will miss the first half after being ejected as a result of the call. Coley will go through pregame warmups and will have to go to the locker room for the first half.
- Ryder Lucas and Reid Miller along with some reserve cornerbacks will be prepped to provide the depth behind Ramirez and Josh Liddell with Coley out for the first half.
- On QB Austin Allen: “Never give up on that kid because he is going to stay in the pocket until the last second.”
- “(Wide receiver Jared Cornelius) can play all three WR positions as well as anyone in our program.” Bielema also compliments him as a runner, citing his game-winning touchdown against Ole Miss.
- “In our program, practice makes a difference.” He lists several players, including freshman running back Devwah Whaley, as guys who have shown improvement as a result of increased practice time this season.
- Whaley will play increasingly going forward with senior RB Kody Walker out for the season with a foot injury. Walker is having surgery today.
- On the coaching staff: “This is the most-complete staff I’ve had since I’ve been here.” Bielema adds offensive coordinator Dan Enos has done a particularly great job with the quarterbacks.
- Freshman RB T.J. Hammonds will play “more and more” but he needs to have a “better understanding of the offense and ball security” to play.
- “If we worry about anyone else other than Auburn, we’re going to be in trouble.”
- Defending Auburn’s up-tempo offense will be a “huge point of emphasis” this week. The team struggled to get lined up at times against Ole Miss when the Rebels’ offense went up-tempo.
- “The only thing I add to the offensive play calling is do we have enough time to snap it?”
- Kicker Adam McFain “was huge” on Saturday, hitting field goals from 43 and 36 yards. Bielema says McFain has a “very quick, efficient operation” getting kicks up and at times they have to slow him down.