Bielema Addresses Injuries

Bret Bielema covered the status of his quarterback in his Monday briefing with the media. Will Brandon Allen play this week at Rutgers?

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema would not confirm starting quarterback Brandon Allen will be out for this weekend's game at Rutgers, but made it clear he would err on the side of caution.

"it wasn't anything structurally broke or anything like that," Bielema said. " So, it's really just a matter of how fast his body can heal. I know, it's a throwing arm issue. So, it's not like you're dealing with something of a normal player that ... You've got to be full strength, you've got to be ... I wouldn't want to put him in harm's way at all."

Bielema also said that offensive linemen Grady Ollison and David Hurd and cornerback Jared Collins should all play Saturday as well as tight end Austin Tate, linebacker Otha Peters and wide receiver Keon Hatcher.

"Grady..., Sunday, early in the day he was in a boot," Bielema said. "When I walked to the training table last night he was out, hopping down the stairs. I think he'll go full go Tuesday. Shouldn't have any problem there.

"Jared, I think he, more than anything, got dinged on that kicking play before, you know where they got the penalty," Bielema said. " Then I think the heat and everything got to him over there on the sidelines. There's a good chance he'll practice tomorrow if not Wednesday."

Tate and Peters have not played yet this season while Hatcher has missed the last two games.

"Tate will play this week," Bielema said. "He is 100 percent. He is ready to roll and move forward." Safety Rohan Gaines will travel and is day-to-day while WR D'Arthur Cowan is still at least a week away according to Bielema.

Gaines dressed out and went through pre-game warm-ups last Saturday.

"Ro handled pre-game warmups," Bielema said. "We weren't going to play him. I just wanted him to get involved in the hotel. He'll travel with us. I hope to have him practicing a little tomorrow. If not, for sure on Wednesday when we go to third downs. I'll tell you what. Alan Turner's playing very, very well. It's going to be tough to get back out there right now."

Cowan has not played as well this season after getting injured in preseason camp.

"He's out of the boot," Bielema said. "I was giving him some heat. We had a great recruiting day on Saturday and he was one of our hosts. He came out to my house and I was giving him some grief. He was decked out in some nice pants and shoes and he was happy to get rid of that booth.

"I think at the end of this week on Sunday we will do an x-ray and hopefully we might get him involved in some non-contact stuff,' Bielema added. "If we could get him in the running for the first couple of games in the SEC – depending on how he feels – he would be a nice addition to have."

Allen went down in the first quarter after scoring on a 5-yard run to give the Hogs a 7-0 lead against Southern Mississippi. The Hogs won 24-3 as AJ Derby handled the rest of the snaps at quarterback.

Derby was shaky in his relief role in the first half, but poised enough in the second half to lead his team on two touchdown drives while completing 4-of-6 passes for 36 yards on the day.

"I think in the first half he reacted to going into the game," Bielema said. "I wouldn't say it was a defensive reaction, but it was 'here I am, I'm the guy.' In the second half, we got him calmed down and breathing a little bit and told him 'hey, if we miss a pass, we miss a pass. Make sure you get the next one.'

"We put him under center and I think he is a lot more comfortable there than doing the shot gun, even on third downs," Bielema added. "We were able to get him in some managable things, a nice couple of completions, which I think gains anybody confidence. Then we just kind of let the ball go into our running game in the fourth quarter, which was huge."

Bielema said he will let loose of the offensive reigns with Derby this week if he is indeed the starter.

"Hundred percent," Bielema said. " I mean, we kind of felt we should be able to run the football there and get out of there with what we did. Obviously, it worked well. I knew once we got up by the three scores, I felt comfortable where we were at and the way our defense was playing.

"So, to me, there's a certain gamesmanship or element to, you know, you don't have to show everything that you've got," Bielema added. " Just kind of show the things that you need to."

Bielema expressed confidence in Derby, who was offered a scholarship by Miami, Oklahoma, Alabama and many other top programs before staying home to play for Iowa.

"I'm excited for AJ for two reasons," Bielema said. "First, I've known him for a long time. He's a tremendous competitor. He's kind of a football junkie. And the second thing is, because of his evolution as a player.

" ... You know, he started at Iowa and went through some adversity," Bielema added. " Then he went to a junior college and played a lot. It's not like he just sat on the bench somewhere else as a reserve. He was the starting quarterback and was involved in game decisions. I know it's junior college vs. the SEC vs. a BCS opponent, but it's still football. And that gets you excited."

Derby will be backed up by true freshman Austin Allen, the younger brother of Brandon Allen and someone the Razorbacks had hoped to redshirt and still may if he is not needed until his older brother returns.

"Well, the good thing for him is, obviously, with the new staff there really wasn't that much of a head start for the other guys, too. He was around during the spring. I know he came over ... We couldn't coach him the way that we would, but obviously the starting quarterback going into fall camp was his brother.

" I think he (Brandon) helped him (Austin) out quite a bit during the summer, getting used to the playbook and all that goes into it. I like Austin's ... They're brothers, they're raised by the same mom and dad, but they're completely different personalities. I think Austin's a little bit more of a free spirit, likes to roll with the punches a little bit. I like that he's been involved in the game plan the last three weeks, being down on the sidelines, getting all the reps, getting all the signals, stuff like that. And he's been doing a great job in our practices."

Arkansas will also move wide receiver Brian Buehner back to quarterback and will divide reps the normal way with the starter getting most of them in practice.

"Just as we would," Bielema said. " Obviously, if BA doesn't play, then AJ's going to get the majority of them. Austin Allen, I told him to prepare as though he's going to play on Saturday because that's the way a No. 2 has to. Brian Buehner, we'll pull back from wide receiver. He'll get some reps at quarterback. Kind of go down that road if it doesn't look like BA's gonna be there."

True freshman quarterback Damon Mitchell - who is from New Jersey - could also go on the trip.

"I'd like to," Bielema said. " I'd definitely would love to take Duwop (Mitchell) back. He's done everything we asked him to do. He's been great on scout team. There for the first couple of weeks, we did maybe a little package with him that he was going to get on the field and play for us. But that didn't develop as good as I wanted it to to take away his redshirt.

"...We want to recruit New Jersey," Bielema added. ""We're going up there with the idea that we get exposure on the East Coast and obviously have a chance to make a statement."

Brandon Allen is a sophomore from Fayetteville, the son of Bielema staffer Bobby Allen, the director of high school relations. Bobby Allen has coached at Arkansas since 1998. This is his first year in administration after coaching linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties and defensive line under Houston Nutt, Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith.

Allen used his redshirt year as a true freshman. He played sparingly last year behind Tyler Wilson, earning a start against Alabama when Wilson was out with a concussion symptoms.

Brandon Allen spent the second half with headsets after injuring his throwing shoulder on a touchdown run.

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