Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen didn't know what was wrong with his shin after a cleat ripped a gash at the end of a run against Auburn. His black leggings covered up the gash.
"I felt it, yes," he said. "But I thought I could walk it off. And through the black (leggings), I could see it getting darker. I thought maybe I was sweating, then I figured out from the trainers that it was blood."
Allen met with the media for the first time since the game after practice Tuesday night, a workout that offensive coordinator Jim Chaney liked both with attitude and execution.
"We got some new things in and I think the kids had fun with it," Chaney said. "Some of it they can handle pretty well and some we'll have to throw out. That's generally the way it works."
Chaney said he was glad he was in the press box Saturday night and didn't see the gash in Allen's lower leg.
"I've seen cuts from cleats before, but I don't think I've ever seen one like this," he said. "It was on the severe side, pretty nasty. I am glad I didn't see it. The boys on the field said it was pretty nasty."
Allen has 14 staples in the cut, but expects them to come out before the trip to Ole Miss this weekend. Game time Saturday in Oxford is at 11:21 a.m.
"It's a nice little cut," Allen said. "I feel bad because we were moving the ball pretty well in that opening drive before that little deal. It did kill our momentum and I wanted to get back out there as soon as I could. The trainers thought it was deep enough that it needed to be closed up."
Was the bone exposed?
"I didn't really look," he said. "But they said they could close it."
Had he ever been stapled before?
"I don't guess so," he said. "I think it will be healed up by Saturday. The shoulder is better and the leg is getting better. All of it will be healed in time."
Chaney said Allen "seemed fine" on Tuesday, but he went carefully with the quarterback so as not to open the wound again.
"He didn't do a lot in individual and did all of the team," Chaney said. "We got him a little rest of the leg. I thought it better not to take a chance. But he seemed fine."
Fullback Kiero Small said he didn't see the gash on Allen's leg.
"No, I didn't," Small said. "I just saw him go down. I didn't know what happened. But I heard on the sideline what happened. Once I heard what happened, I didn't think he was coming back. But he came back out there like nothing happened."
Small said he had never heard of a cleat tearing a hole in a leg.
"No, I haven't," he said, "but today, after I saw what happened, today when I went out to practice I felt the bottom of my cleat and I could see how it could happen."
Small is amazed by the criticism given to Allen.
"All the guys that critique him and stuff like that, I don't think they understand how tough that kid is," Smal said. "He went in and got and stapled up and playing with a bad shoulder and stuff like that. It's pretty hard to throw a ball with a bad shoulder. You never hear him complain. He's been out there at practice every day. I think he's a really tough guy."
That adds to the respect the team has for their quarterback.
"It adds a lot," Small said. "A lot. And, you know, when you see him go down for that reason … when we pass block, we don't really like him to get touched because he's had his fare share of lumps. We don't want to add any to them."
Center Travis Swanson doesn't think the criticism gets to Allen.
"Brandon's that kind of guy that just doesn't … I mean, he takes criticism and stuff like that," Swanson said. "But he doesn't take it necessarily to heart, you know what I mean? It's not going to affect him outside of these walls or outside of that stadium. He knows he's a great quarterback. he knows what he has to work on to get better."
That's a key asset to own for a quarterback because it comes with the territory.
"You've got to be mentally tough, definitely," Swanson said. "He's one of the most mentally tough people I know."
Chaney said he's impressed with the Ole Miss defense that runs "quarters zone" in the secondary.
"They fly around and make plays," Chaney said. "They are playing with confidence and playing good and they are coming off a bye."
Chaney said the offense appeared to improve in some areas against Auburn.
"We were a little better throwing, a little better catching and the protection was a little better," Chaney said. "There was improvement in all areas, but we still have a long ways to go.
"We are going to add some things to what we did. It's going slower than I'd want, but we are improving."
Allen said it's just a matter of hard work.
"The guys are not going to quit, none of us," he said. "This is a good opportunity against a solid defense that plays tough."
About adding offense, Allen said, "We want to take shots when we have a chance. We want to try to push the ball down the field. We are going to continue to build. I think there are some positives. We have some young guys who are excited and coming along. We have a number of guys coming along."
Chaney said the Hogs should be healthy. Asked about the availability of running back Alex Collins, injured late against Auburn, Chaney said, "He looks like he's doing fine. All of Coach (Joel) Thomas' running backs looked good today."
Allen said it was a good practice.
"I thought it was good for all of the new things," Allen said, noting Tuesdays can be rough with a new game plan most weeks. "For the first day of the week, it went extremely well. I think our guys were intense and it was a fine practice."
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