FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema addressed the media Monday as the Razorbacks prepare to host No. 10 Florida on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS).
The Hogs (5-3, 1-3 SEC) are coming off a bye week.
Here’s the rundown of what Bielema had to say.
- Bielema says there were “a number of guys” that probably wouldn’t have been able to play last week if they’d had a game. But several of those guys were able to get healthy enough over the bye week they should be able to play Saturday, quarterback Austin Allen included.
- Right tackle Brian Wallace is still recovering from an ankle injury he sustained against Auburn. Everyone else appears to be good to play this week.
- Allen is a full go. “The amount of damage was small compared to what we thought it could be.”
- Colton Jackson is one of a few candidates that could play against Florida if Wallace can’t.
- Bielema believes Florida has as talented of a secondary as “maybe anyone in the country.”
- “Florida is a very good football team. My guess is when the College Football Playoff rankings come out they’ll be very well thought of because of what they’ve been able to do.”
- The team’s developmental group (mostly young players and redshirts) scrimmaged each other last week during the bye. Several starters did not practice all week, mostly due to recovering from minor injuries.
- On if the bye helped the team recharge: “Yeah, I think without a doubt. Eight games is a long stretch without a bye. Obviously you play the schedule you have in front of you, but I think one of the biggest things we had to do was kind of recharge a little bit.”
- Bielema felt the defense had to regain itself from a mental standpoint after such a poor performance against Auburn.
- Redshirt freshman tight end has been one of Bielema’s “favorite” players this season. “He brings a little smile to your day.”
- Bielema has called the Florida linebackers “very disruptive” a few times already. He elaborates on how good they’ve been in stopping the run.
- “We don’t have a lot of options” on the offense line. “As soon as you try to fill one hole another one happens.”
- Bielema would like to see scheduling be a little more consistent with cross-division opponents in the SEC. He would like to see every player get a chance to play every team throughout their career.
- On developmental players: “We’re pushing the (tight end) C.J. O’Grady button a little bit.” Bielema also adds they are trying to bring along wide receivers La’Michael Pettway and Deon Stewart so they are ready to step into a bigger role next year. Freshman quarterback Cole Kelley has “continued to look good” with the work he’s getting.
- Junior center Frank Ragnow went home to Minnesota last Thursday to spend the weekend with his family. His father passed away in early October.
- “My best non-football sports memory” was singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ at a Cubs game while he was at Wisconsin. Bielema is not “a big baseball guy” but “loves the atmosphere of Wrigley” and says its been fun to follow the World Series.