Bielema Addresses Florida Allegation

In his weekly time on the SEC Football Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema talks about an allegation from Florida center John Harrison, how sophomore Will Hines and true freshman D.J. Dean may be his two cornerbacks going forward and other young players that are making a move while redshirting this season.

While he was on the road recruiting this week, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema got a call from the Razorback communications staff.

It seems Florida center John Harrison – who was ejected during the third quarter of Gators' 30-10 win over the Razorbacks on Oct. 5 and had not spoken to the media in four weeks - had just accused one of Arkansas players of using racial slurs.

"What happened was, one play I got face-masked, then the next play I got called every version of the 'N-word' known to man," Harrison said. "And I went up to the ref and I'm like, 'Ref, please, you have to control this player. He's been calling me every racial slur.'"

Bielema remembers the exact play in the game where Harrison was tossed by the referee for making contact with an official.

"I was actually on the road recruiting yesterday and got a phone call from our communications department," Bielema said. "I remember the player that was ejected and I remember the play that it happened on.

"So I immediately called - it was J-Lake (senior linebacker Jarrett Lake) I think that the play actually happened on – and asked J-Lake and he categorically denied anything of that nature.

"I think if it was a big deal, I probably would have heard about it after the game – not four weeks later," Bielema continued. "I understand the player got a chance to talk, but that wouldn't go on with our guys."

Bielema added in one more opinion about the allegation.

"Actually in that game, the Florida game, all 11 of our defensive players were African-American," Bielema said. "I have a hard time believing anybody on our roster would say anything along that line without getting noticed by our own guys so I don't see there is an issue there."

Arkansas (3-7, 0-6) has a bye this weekend before hosting Mississippi State in Little Rock on Nov. 23 at 11:21 a.m.

Bielema does expect starting cornerback Will Hines to return from injury for the first time since the Florida game to help out a secondary that has been torched most of the season.

"I think the big thing with Will is that he was really starting to play his best football no doubt," Bielema said. "He had made a play couple plays before he got injured that was one of the best plays he had had all year. He had just fired and reacted to what he had seen.

"He is a competitive kid, got all the length and dynamics and measurements that you want at corner so to get him back in the line up will be a great thing," Bielema added. "He is still a little bit limited this week, but hopefully he will be full go next week."

Bielema also noted that true freshman D.J. Dean was making a move at the other corner spot.

"D.J. Dean has been doing great," Bielema said. "He has no fear, he is an incredibly tough kid, he works extremely hard and has got a lot of God-given ability that he knows to use every play. He comes from a great background so I know those two guys in the back end will help us out in the in the coming weeks."

Bielema noted that the program was taking use of the off week to get better.

"We are going to take advantage of this week in a couple of different areas," Bielema said. "Recruiting-wise we hit the road Sunday night and will maximize our number of NCAA visits and evaluations that we are allowed before we are allowed the conclusion of this weekend.

"In that process, too, we will have a lot of developmental work because we are eliminated from post-season play," Bielema added. "These next three weeks we will try and get as much work in as we can with our developmental guys that will be returning on next year's roster to get a good feel where they are at and where our recruiting needs need to finish up at."

One of those developmental guys is true freshman tailback Korliss Marshall.

"Two things, first he is an incredibly explosive player and the run thing he does when he has done all those run plays is he hits the hole so much faster than everybody else and with a tremendous amount of power," Bielema said.

"The second thing is he is just a willing soul," Bielema added. "He is just driven by success. It has been amazing to me from the arrival of him here this summer to where we are today. He is so conscientious. He comes into my office at least once a week, or every other week, and tells me how his grades are going and what things are going on in his life.

"He is a pretty conscientious kid and when you get together that combo – somebody that wants to be great and has the ability to do it – you have got something special."

It's a well-known fact that Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas and defensive coordinator Chris Ash and defensive backs coach Taver Johnson both want Marshall for their side of the ball.

"We have a running backs coach and D-backs coach that want to go into a cage fight to see who gets him," Bielema said. "Obviously Joel would love to see him and the DB coaches Chris Ash and Taver Johnson want to get him in the back end."

Marshall has told Bielema that he would like to play safety.

"He is really emphatic – at least he is talking to me – that he wants to switch to safety and we will work him there this week during developmental-wise," Bielena said, "and then he gets more and more comfortable we will let his role grow more and more on the offense – even if he has just three run plays, two pass plays and handles the return game. He is a guy that I think continues to grow."

There are other young Razorbacks that have sparked Bielema's interest including a pair of redshirts in defensive end Tevin Beanum and safety DeAndre Coley as well as wide receiver Drew Morgan.

"Defensively, I think Tevin Beanum has been somebody I am excited about getting our hands on this week," Bielema said. "You can see where he has put on about 30 pounds.

"DeAndre Coley has gone from 168 to 194 and looks like a different person and is an extremely aggressive player during practice," Bielema said. "Those two guys really jump out on defense.

"On offense, I think the development – and it sounds silly – but even our running backs Alex Collins and Korliss Marshall those guys get better every practice, let alone every game.

"Drew Morgan also gets a lot of reps during practice and shows us some bright spots," Bielema said.

Bret Bielema

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