Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema met with the media for the final time before the Razorbacks take on Florida in The Swamp on Saturday night on ESPN2.
Sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen had a very good practice on Wednesday while preparing for Florida.
The Razorbacks will enter the game pretty healthy according to Bielema.
“Brandon (Allen) has been with us all week,” Bielema said. “So no complications there. Austin Jones didn't play last week, could have played on Saturday, but didn't practice, but he will be back with us on the defensive side of the ball.”
Allen returned to quarterback the team last week against Texas A&M after previously missing the prior seven quarters of action due to a shoulder injury.
“He looked very good yesterday,” Bielema said of Allen on Wednesday. “We did back off him a little bit today. We let AJ (Derby) take some of the reps today.”
“The only thing you might see is Brey Cook at right tackle,” Bielema said. “Him and Grady (Ollison) have been splitting time all week. Sam (Pittman) is going to make a decision tomorrow afternoon and let them know. One of those guys will start, but they will both see time at the right tackle spot.”
Sophomore D'Arthur Cowan is back from a broken foot he suffered in the preseason. Bielema still isn't sure how much action Cowan will see at receiver.
“D'Arthur practiced all week,” Bielema said. “How much he is involved in the game plan, maybe special teams. With (Javontee) Herndon, (Eric) Hawkins and (Keon) Hatcher those guys are our main three. Drew Morgan will be in there a little bit. D'Arthur would probably be the fourth or fifth guy in there right now.”
Eric Hawkins is one of the top three receivers for Arkansas this week heading to Florida.
Bielema said the team has packed its rain gear since Tropical Storm Karen could cause some rainy weather on Saturday night in Gainesville. From a recruiting standpoint, Bielema feels a win Saturday night would be big for the program.
“In today's world with the social media and everything that goes into it,” Bielema said. “I talked to over 20 prospects last night. Wednesday night is a big call night for us. We start calls at 8 and go to 11. We start on the East Coast and work our way across through the time zones.
“They all watched the game last week. It didn't matter if I was talking to a kid from California or Florida. But, obviously in the state of Florida we always say the Big Three, Florida, Florida State and Miami, anytime you can beat them on a prospect that's really big. We did it last year for Alex (Collins) and Denver. To be able to get into their home state and play Florida at Florida and to get out of there with a W would be a huge, huge statement.”
Bielema has three players from the Sunshine State who play on a regular basis. Herndon, Collins and Kirkland. He was asked if he was afraid maybe they were too pumped for this game.
“Absolutely,” Bielema said. “Hopefully we got it out of them this week. We had our scout team kind of emulate Florida in every way. Florida kids just naturally talk so we had defensive scout be a little chippy with the offensive guys to teach them they can't retaliate and do anything back.
“It has kind of been fun because it has been a spirited practice. Alex, especially, I know he's a very emotional guy. Denver he kind of conserves his energy. When you are 6-5 and over 340 you tend to do less celebration and running. Alex and Javontee are the ones I'm concerned about. They are very emotional guys.”
Bielema said if they start in a 4-3 defense the strong safety would either be Alan Turner or Rohan Gaines. He said Turner had the better Tuesday practice and Gaines got the better of it on Wednesday. He said Chris Ash plans to start the one who did better at Thursday's practice.
“You will see them both on Saturday,” Bielema said. “Fortunately for us both of them are playing well.”