Bret Bielema said quarterback Brandon Allen and AJ Derby are both "committed" to rehab and "we'll see where that goes." He emphasized that both have a chance to play against Missouri. That was the update from the Arkansas head coach Monday at his weekly media briefing.
"Does Brandon have to practice?" Bielema said. "Certainly, you'd like to have your quarterback throw it around. He's an older player and he could miss time and play.
"It's a soft tissue injury, more complex than I can explain. He should be OK very soon. As we know, he's very tough.
"We are hopeful that he can go out (to practice) on Tuesday, throw it around Wednesday, a walk through Thursday and then be able to play Friday."
Deatrich Wise should be back after missing last week with an ankle sprain. He'll return to practice Tuesday.
Because of the short practice week with a 1:30 p.m. Friday game at Missouri, Bielema said the Hogs plan a 10:30 p.m. Monday night practice because of class room schedule this week. They do not have class on Wednesday. The turkey dinner is set for Monday night.
As far as backup quarterback for Brandon Allen, after Austin Allen, it goes to AJ Derby, if available, then a decision would have to be made either on Rafe Peavey's redshirt or working Duwop Mitchell at quarterback. Mitchell had been on in-house suspension because of academics the last two weeks. But Bielema said Mitchell could work at quarterback this week.
"Obviously, we don't want to use a redshirt on Peavey this late, but we've gone over that with him," Bielema said. "We'd have this game and a bowl. But we really don't want to do that."
Bielema was asked about the difference between Brandon Allen and Austin Allen. He said the two brothers are very different.
“Obviously don’t have any children yet," Bielema said, "so I can’t speak to everybody, but as I’ve grown through life I’ve just been amazed how many parents I know so well, and then they have so many ... Or, they have multiple children that are just completely different.
"BA and Austin are no exception to that rule. They are completely alike in a lot of different ways, but they’re completely different in so many others. I think BA is just by nature a lot more ... wants to have all the reasons, wants to have all ‘This happens to this, this happens to this, this is what’s going to happen.’
"Austin’s just like, ‘Cool, that happens and this might happen? That’s all right.’ You know, that’s kind of it. I’m not saying one way or the other works, but I will say this: I don’t think anybody had any anxiety about Austin Allen walking in that huddle that was out there with him. He was a very calm, cool, collected, very confident, very assured. Even where there’s maybe some bumps in the road, he handled everything marvelously and kind of fun to watch.”
If Austin is the starter, what would you ask differently as for as a plan?
“I think you ask Austin to be the best him, no matter whatever that means, however we go about it," Bielema said. "You know, you do certain things in your play-calling, obviously, and make certain things aware.
"You know, Austin Allen has to be the best Austin Allen he can be, but all the 10 other guys in that huddle or whoever has an effect on that huddle or on those calls has to be behind Austin and give him a lot of support and play their best football. That’s what happened on Saturday, and I think that’s what I expect our team to do.”
What did Bielema see on tape of Austin that maybe he didn't see during the game?
"On film he looked fine," Bielema said. "Even on the field, he handled the composure, he put us in some calls. We do a little thing called milking the clock at the end where we just kind of milk everything down.
"If you see me on the sideline (making motion with hands like he's milking a cow), I'm not trying to … I'm just telling them to milk the clock. It's easier said than done, because we want them to break the huddle at 15, we want them to start the motion at 8 and we want them to snap the ball under 4.
"That's easier said than done. He really did a nice job. I thought he was getting a a little close for my comfort, but even with that fumble, he just kind of took his medicine and proceeded to go out there and do it all over again. So I was …. I wasn't surprised, because Austin is such a neat kid. From the first day I met him the first time he came into my office when he was a senior in high school to building a relationship with him, kind of through social media at that time, where you could message and I could to him limited, and he started showing up … You automatically thought he was going to be just like B.A., and he's completely different.
"His father and I joke all the time, just because he is a little bit different type of personality than his brother. I was happy for him and happy for our team."
As far as playing Missouri, Bielema knows it will be a challenge.
"I think offensively, their quarterback is just fun to watch," Bielema said. "He's a winner that makes a lot of plays with his legs, extends plays. Their wide receivers are very opportunistic. They have a running back slash special teams returner guy, (Marcus Murphy) that is as dangerous as we've faced. He's incredible.
"Defensively, I love their defensive ends. Dave Steckel, their defense coordinator, and I have been friends for 15-20 years. I just admire and respect what he does. So defensively, they remind me a little bit of the last couple of weeks of Mississippi State and Ole Miss. They're very, very fast, they're very athletic and very aggressive in their demeanor and their attitude. And in special teams, because of that return man, they're very dangerous. So it's a tremendous task, but a tremendous opportunity for our guys as well."
Bielema didn't make any announcement about the future of running back Korliss Marshall, suspended for the third time this season before the Ole Miss game. It sounds like Marshall will not return with the Razorbacks. Bielema met with him briefly on Friday, then met with Marshall and his mother, again briefly, on Sunday.
As far as providing an update, Bielema said Monday he would not release “much. When I met with him last week to share with him where we were at and where we were going, it was a very short, brief meetinging. I was hot. I was pissed. So I said, hey, I’ll talk to you on Sunday. Because I wanted him to know you’re not going to be a distraction to this football team. And then I wanted to have him have a few days to digest. I brought him in on Sunday, talked to his mom, we’re going over the options that are in front of him. The good Lord gave him some things that he needs to take advantage of to get a degree and to have success in life. So I’m going to do everything I can to make that situation be as real and as good as it possibly can.”
Bielema had referenced his last chance earlier in the season and mentioned it could be a "sad" story.
“Yeah, that's why I get mad," Bielema said. "Everybody loves success, everybody loves to watch success, but the ones that stay in the back of my mind are always the ones that didn't work out. The ones that don't get worked out get one page headlines, but they don't get four years of a career of headlines. They usually flash for a very brief moment in time.
"This will be a great learning experience for me. I've never been through this personally, the exact same scenario or the exact same situation. But it's my guess as a head coach it's in this environment, in the SEC, the type of geography and all that goes into it, I need to learn a little bit better at what I can do to help that situation. On the bottom line, until someone really wants to help themselves, I don't have a lot of options. Korliss is at that juncture right now.”
Monday Grid Update and Injury Report, 11/24
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