"It'll be a game time decision," Bielema said after practice Thursday. He's got two-and-a half more days and it helps that it's a late game."
Game time is 6 p.m. against Samford at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Bielema said he's interested to see how much improvement the Hogs have made since the 34-14 victory over Louisiana in the opener.
"The old cliche is that between the first and second game a team makes the biggest jump," Bielema said. "We did a lot of things well in the first game, but we want to see if we can improve the things we didn't do well."
"Martrell continues to come along," Bielema said. "This game means a lot from him being that he's from North Little Rock and he'll have a lot of friends and family there."
It's also clear that Braylon Mitchell is more in the plans this week. The starting strongside linebacker didn't play much with the Hogs in a nickel package. But with Gaines, the strong safety and nickel back, on the mend, the Hogs might be in the base more. If Gaines can't go, Alan Turner will start in his place at safety.
"Braylon continues to impress," Bielema said. "He's been lights out in practice. He'll play more (this week) in the base."
One of the pleasant developments in the opener was Austin Jones at middle linebacker. The senior and former walk-on earned the starting spot after working at all three linebacker spots in camp. Bielema said his versatility worked against him for a bit in camp.
"We were moving him around and I said let's just leave him at one spot and don't penalize him for working at all three. Let's let him specialize at one.
"He was a pleasant surprise. Middle linebacker is like the quarterback of our defense. He gets everyone lined up. If the troops move on one side, he has to get them moved on the other side."
Bielema said true freshman Korliss Marshall would play in special teams this week.
"We brought him in and talked to him (about the possibility of redshirting or playing)," Bielema said. "We want him to play. Sometimes you grow more in the first year by playing now. Safety is a little new to him. He's played other places more. He could be our third or fourth best running back, he's that talented."
It appears Samford head coach Pat Sullivan won't make it to the game. He's out with a medical situation for the second straight week.
"I was looking forward to meeting someone of that stature," Bielema said. "I will say that I talk to our staff about how they would handle me being gone. Sometimes I leave practice to do other things and that prepares them for that situation.
"We practice a lot of things. We practice our operation without headsets. You saw that in the Ole Miss-Vanderbilt game the phones went out. So we worked on what it would be like if that happened in a game and I couldn't be hooked up with the coaches, we rehearsed that."