Bret Bielema met with the media on Monday for his weekly press conference.
Brandon Allen returned from a shoulder injury to play against Texas A&M on Saturday.
Bielema covered subjects from last week's game against Texas A&M to this week's road trip to Gainesville to face Florida. Here's five key thoughts from Bielema:
Arkansas is getting healthier each week. Tevin Mitchel suffered a “head injury” on Saturday and had to leave the game. Bielema addressed Mitchel's injury as well as Brandon Allen's shoulder after playing the entire game on Saturday.
“[Allen] was not too sore,” Bielema said. “He should be full go with us all this week in practice. Tevin Mitchel will be limited contact at tomorrow's practice and if everything continues to go the way it's going with him he should be no problem to play by Saturday.”
Bielema took a fall during the Hog Walk and could even joke about it on Monday.
“Yeah, I should have included that in my injury report,” Bielema said. “It was classic.....My shoes are a little slick on the bottom, it was rainy.
“Actually we had two players fall, too. I was just kind of going along, I was enjoying my own business. I think I showed my athleticism. I think a lessor athlete probably would have been down for the count. As soon as I got up, and I saw those phones, I said, 'Oh, this is going to be an instant YouTube phenomenon and obviously,,,,Especially for the haters out there. I knew they'd have some fun with that.'”
Bielema went on to say the players were aware of his fall as well.
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema said that Korliss Marshall will remain at tailback.
“I'm glad I didn't have any bleeps and also recovered pretty well,” Bielema said. “My wife came home, she said, 'Did you fall?' I was like, 'Yeah, let's not talk about it.' I think our players were having some fun with it yesterday. Nobody said anything to me, but I could tell. The elephant in the room.”
Osceola freshman Korliss Marshall made his season debut on Saturday night. Marshall returned three kickoffs for 74 yards and had one carry for 16 yards.
“He is a guy we have been excited about,” Bielema said. “I almost played him at the beginning of the season. He just kept getting better and better. We gave him an opportunity to step in there and he did that. We will expand his role.”
Marshall was moved from safety to running back following an injury to running back Nate Holmes.
“Holmes has been a little banged up the last couple of weeks with his ankle,” Bielema said. “He re-tweaked it again last week and is still a little bit sensitive this week. Korliss will continue to work at that third running back spot and work as the primary returner on kickoffs.”
Florida Game a Big One
Bielema pointed out Saturday's game against the Gators is a big one from different standpoints.
Tyler Murphy is the new starter at quarterback for the Gators.
“We have recruited a lot in the state of Florida,” Bielema said. “So it's a big weekend for us in our recruiting wars and all that goes on there. I think our guys are very, very excited to go the Swamp.
“We haven't beaten them in SEC play. So an opportunity to do something that has never been done here. It's exciting for our guys. I think they go some mojo out of last week. Obviously we didn't get a win, but I think our guys felt they competed and played with a very, very good football team so we are excited about that opportunity.”
Florida is going with quarterback Tyler Murphy after an injury knocked their starter out for the season. Bielema is impressed with Murphy.
“A very good player,” Bielema said. “If the old adage is true, you make your biggest improvement from game one to game two, you know this'll be his second game as a starter and obviously he gets to prepare the whole week as the starter.”
Florida, like Arkansas, likes to run the football. Bielema joked about that as well on Monday.
“This might be the quickest game in the history of college football,” Bielema said. “I think they're No. 1 in the country in time of possession and we're right outside the top 10. So I know nobody's in a big, big hurry on offense and it'll be fun to see this match up.”
Florida has one of the best defenses in college football. What makes it so good?
“Physical up front play,” Bielema said. “Across the board up front, they use their hands well. They're powerful.
True freshman Dan Skipper started at offensive guard for Arkansas on Saturday.
“Their linebackers run. I think they're more capable on the back end, which allows their front to be a little bit more physical, you know what I mean, because they're a little bit protected behind them. It's an imposing group. You can see why they play great defense.”
Bielema touched on some disciplinary issues he's dealing with internally at this time.
“There are some things, not big things off the field but a couple of guys late and some things I really needed to send a strong message and hold them accountable,” Bielema said. “I am a big, big believer in what happens off the field carries over directly to what happens on the field.
“I spoke to the guys pretty strongly about that and got everything cleaned up because I know it works. We had to get on board there.”
Bielema was asked what specifically happened off the field?
“There was a guy late for a Thursday lift,” Bielema said. “There was a guy late the Friday before we went to Rutgers and I pointed it out and it's not going to be tolerated.
“If affects their playing time. We have already domoted some guys and took some guys out of game plans because they weren't able to handle their business away from the field and we will continue to do that. I am just not going to do that.”
“They played with a lot of energy,” Bielema said. “Which is half the battle. I think they're both very, very talented.
“We had some concerns with Skip – I didn't personally – but I know we talked about maybe keeping Skipper at tackle and moving (David) Hurd to guard or some different scenarios. But we just, I just thought rather than trying to change a bunch of people out, throw those two guys into the guard spots and very, very competitive. Obviously we limited what they had to do and they're both extremely large. They're physical. They're athletic and played with a lot of energy.”