The good news from practice this week is no new injuries other than wide receiver D'Arthur Cowan which has already been reported.
Keon Hatcher, 4, is expected to return to practice on Sunday after missing some time with an injury.
“We got a couple guys back,” Bielema said. “(Javontee) Herndon practiced basically from Wednesday on. Other than the guys you know about no one should miss this game.”
Bielema was asked if he felt the injuries the team has had have been bad luck or what?
“I think injuries are part of the game,” Bielema said. “We're not looking at anything other than that. If someone goes down it's just next man in.
“Nobody else in the world of college football is going to feel sorry for you so don't feel sorry for yourself. I don't think they have been that bad with the physicality we practice with.”
“I think Reeve will be a good player for us,” Bielema said. “He's an extremely tough kid. He dislocated his kneecap and didn't say a single word to anybody. He said his knee was hurting and then all of a sudden his knee was swollen. He dislocated his kneecap and that is something some kids roll around on the ground and scream about. He didn't miss a beat.”
Bielema said wide receiver Keon Hatcher will return to practice on Sunday.
“Hatcher isn't practicing 11-on-11 time,” Bielema said. “He knows the offense and what we're trying to do.”
Bret Bielema will give his players Saturday off before returning on Sunday.
Bielema will give the team Saturday off before starting game week on Sunday with a light practice followed by no practice on Monday.
“I've traditionally done that as a head coach,” Bielema said of Saturday off. “Main mission now is get their legs back under them and see where we are as coaches.”
Arkansas started working for their opening opponent Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday of this camp. The Ragin' Cajuns have caught Bielema's attention.
“They're a very good football team,” Bielema said. “Offense, defense, special teams and very well coached. It's easy to see why they win a lot of games.”
Louisiana is coming off consecutive 9-4 seasons and have one of the most prolific offenses the Razorbacks will face early in the season. The offense is led by junior quarterback Terrance Broadway. Junior tailback Alonzo Harris is also a very good back while center Andre Huval is on the Rimington Watch List.
Eric Hawkins could return kickoffs this season after redshirting last year.
Bielema has always made special teams a priority. He said senior Zach Hocker will handle the placements, punts and kickoffs though junior Sam Iwrin-Hill could do the pooch kicking. Bielema also touched on the return game.
“I would say at the starting kick returner will probably be a combination of one of these three people.....Eric Hawkins, Nathan Holmes and Drew Morgan,” Bielema said. “Punt returner, I would say Javontee Herndon would be back there as well. A possibility of Melvinson Hartfield as well. D.J. Dean has looked good as a punt returner as well.”
Bielema said the fact Hartfield has worked into the rotation at wide receiver despite reporting late isn't a surprise.
“Once you see him run and see his ball skills you will know why,” Bielema said. “Good football players don't take a lot of time.
“Now, he will get better in time with the more practices he gets into. It's just a very natural thing for him to play.”
“I think both of them will play significant roles,” Bielema said. “I don't know if either of them has proven to me he can play a four-quarter game. It might even be a three-way rotation withTevin Mitchel.
“D.J. Dean is another kid who has been really good in fall camp and was impressive the past couple of days.”
Bielema said the cornerback battle is the biggest questionmark on the depth chart. Other than that, just who is healthy enough to play at wide receiver. Bielema said also the sub pattern at linebacker is a question. He said safety is solid and linebackers is about what package they have on the field.
In Press Box
All the other assistants will be on the field with Bielema.