Arkansas coach Bret Bielema drew the usual next-day questions about the trip to Alabama, but there was a part of his weekly media interview on Tuesday that dealt with the circumstances surrounding an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assessed Cam Robinson.
Robinson was engaged with Arkansas defender Hjalte Froholdt after the whistle when Santos Ramirez returned an interception deep in Alabama territory. The penalty against Robinson moved the ball all the way to the Alabama 12-yard line and helped the Hogs score the touchdown that gave them the lead.
Bielema and Robinson seemed to be engaged for an instant, with Bielema turning away as Robinson swung his arm. Bielema danced a little after the play, that resulted in a 15-yard penalty against Robinson.
Bielema said his first reaction was to turn towards his sideline to caution his players.
"I had been on the officials a couple of plays earlier that it had been getting fiesty and to throw a flag," he said. "(Robinson) flipped out of bounds with one of our players. I knew what could happen and I stepped in front and held my arms out. I knew my players would not touch me. I was more worried about actions from other players.
"And, the next thing, I was spun around. When I turned back, I saw the flag."
As far as his dance afterwards, he said, "I do about 10 of those a game for something good. We had just intercepted a pass and gotten great field position. So that's what the dance was about, getting a chance to score."
Bielema was disappointed that there was reaction without seeing both camera shots, including the one from the front. That didn't come out for 24 hours.
"I'm not surprised with anything on social media these days," he said. "I hadn't seen the video until we made a stop in (California)…When I was able to watch the video, I told myself it didn't show what happened when I put my back to (the cameraman)."
When asked about the criticism, he said, "Bring it on baby. When you're 2-4, it's just one of those things - it's a world full of hate. Sometimes it just comes out in the most unusual ways and you're amazed people react that way."
Asked about the fake punt, he said, "We didn't call it until we were frustrated we couldn't get anything going offensively....A lack of execution at the critical point was the fallout."
Bielema, without being asked, said Arkansas should have run more 5-wide sets at Alabama. The Razorbacks gained 15 yards on a pass to Jojo Robinson the first play in 5-wide and didn't run it again.
"I wish we had done that more," he said. "You have to think outside the box with what you can do and you can't. We will work on (Alabama) starting this week because it's a year long process."
Offensive coordinator Dan Enos said he likes the "empty set," but that protection for Brandon Allen was an issue as the game developed.
"Brandon was getting hit and we thought we'd have to keep a back in for protection," he said. "I've always liked empty as a changeup. We opened in it with 12 personnel (meaning two tight ends flexed). We want to run it and make people practice against it."
Later, when Bielema was asked about the possibility of injured receiver Jared Cornelius possibly coming back, he said, "I've already been accused once this week of being an actor, I don't want to be accused of being a doctor, too." Interestingly, Cornelius, out with a broken arm, might come back this year. He practiced without contact Tuesday.
Juan Day was cleared for contact this week. The redshirt freshman running back will scrimmage Wednesday.
Bielema spent much of the last three days recruiting. He was back at practice Tuesday, the Hogs' first of the week after an off day on Monday. The Hogs have an open date before playing host to Auburn at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.
He said the first he heard of the controversy was after arriving in California. There was a look at video on a flight from Utah. He said he talked to the SEC commissioner, who told him the flag was for the confrontation between Robinson and Hjalte Froholdt, not for what Robinson did with Bielema.
Bielema said the Hogs are realatively healthy after the Alabama loss. Linebacker Dwayne Eugene sustained a leg injury during the game, but returned to play at the end. He had a bruise to the outside of the knee against Tennessee and took another hit there against Alabama. He missed three plays. He was full speed at practice Tuesday.
Bielema discussed the need to get more plays for wide receiver Dominique Reed on Tuesday. Reed has run for touchdowns aftrer the catch against Tenneessee and Alabama. Enos said Reed will be targeted more in the next six weeks.
Enos summarized by noting the Hogs had been gaining over 450 yards, but this "was not a good week and we are not happy. But we are not going to panic. We are going to keep getting better."
Defensive coordinator Robb Smith said he was happy with much of the play, but "you can never be satisfied with what ended up on the scoreboard."
Smith was also pleased with what he called a "good, crisp developmental practice" with impressive play from freshmen Jamario Bell, Derrick Graham, T.J. Smith, Ryan Pulley and Willie Sykes. Sykes is recovering from an injury.
"I had a lot of fun today," he said. "It was a blast. Bell and Graham are two guys who can provide an edge. We got a lot of developmental work today."
Brooks Ellis drew play after making 15 tackles against Alabama.
"If I was drafting, I'd take him first," Smith said. "He would play at a high level at all three linebacker positions. But he helps set our defense at middle linebacker. He helps Dre Greenlaw get in position. I'm glad he's an Arkansas Razorback."