Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema met with the media on Monday and much of the discussion included the loss to South Carolina.
Darius Philon has been playing outstanding football and will replace the injured Robert Thomas as a starter on Saturday.
Here's five highlights from Bielema's press conference:
As the team and staff does each Sunday, they reviewed the film from the previous day's game.
“The film on Sunday was a hard one to get through,” Bielema said. “I knew it was after the results on Saturday.
“We kind of used the same format. The one change up we did do is went out on the field and scrimmaged our young guys. It gave the coaches a chance to work some fundamentals with the young guys. A lot of good work there.”
The players who played over 30 reps on Saturday didn't participate in Sunday's scrimmage. Reeve Koehler's parents were here for the game. Bielema said he felt bad for Koehler on Sunday during the scrimmage.
“Reeve unfortunately got rolled up on a bit and didn't finish the scrimmage,” Bielema said. “He has a slight MCL.
“As far as some young players who stood out were Korliss Marshall who looked good at tailback. On defense, [De'Andre] Coley has put on 15 to 20 pounds and is starting to look like an SEC safety. We had Mitch Smothers in there and he's continued to get better.”
Korliss Marshall looked good in a brief scrimmage of younger players on Sunday.
“Darius Philon is coming along real well,” Bielema said. “He will replace [Thomas] in the lineup.”
Bielema was asked what has impressed him the most about Philon.
“The most impressive thing has nothing to do with football,” Bielema said. “He's a guy that at one point was thinking about whether he needed to be here.
“He had a great spring, a great summer and has had a really great fall. The kid's learning if off the charts. The kids always behind my ear and talks through things quite a bit. He has a great relationship with Coach (Charlie) Partridge. He has played his best football for sure the past three or four weeks. He's the one kid I have probably seen more growth from him as a guy in our program than anyone else.”
Brandon Allen's Health
Brandon Allen injured his shoulder against Southern Miss, but returned to play in SEC action. Questions still abound about his health and still having to miss some practice time due to the injury.
Brandon Allen is still getting healthier each week, but still not able to practice each day.
“Every Sunday since the injury he has come in and said he felt better than the week before,” Bielema said. “He had a pretty significant injury and has battled back.
“He gets a certain amount of work on Tuesday, he works the whole practice on Wednesday and Thursday he's limited. On Friday, we let him rest.”
Bielema said the lack of practice time for Allen has had a bearing on the passing game.
“It's a chain reaction,” Bielema said. “He doesn't get to throw as many passes to the receivers and all the little things that add up. I think Brandon Allen is going to be a good football player and we've got to have the patience to get him there.”
“If there was a guy who I thought gave us a better chance of winning I would play him,” Bielema said. “I told the crew back when we reported I am going to play every freshman that I think gives us the chance to win one rep. I want to win now and win as soon as possible.
“Obviously, the last four weeks haven't been in the right column. Florida and South Carolina's defenses have made him look a certain way.”
Allen had some passes he threw away on Saturday. Bielema was asked if that was to avoid sacks?
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema wants his team to deal with adversity better each week.
“We always talk about if you can get rid of the football within the NCAA rules instead of taking a sack you should do it,” Bielema said. “He threw at least three away that were, 'I've got to get rid of it now.' Guys weren't open. There was a couple of times where the protection broke down and there was some guys in his face and I don't think he could see the right route.”
React To Adversity
Arkansas lost to Alabama 52-0 last year and are going to Tuscaloosa on Saturday coming off a 52-7 loss to South Carolina. Bielema was asked what message he will try to get through to his team this week.
“Don't be a Debbie Downer,” Bielema said. “If you want to get out of this doldrums and move forward as a person you take pride in what just happened and realize when you get beat that way there's a lot of things you could have done better.
“I think one thing we've got to try to escape just overall there's such a blow-up of a bad situation. This is the same team that has done some pretty positive things. The going gets a little tough and the guys revert back to that. It's just something you have to get out of your system. It's nowhere to be found in a championship team or anybody that has had success.”
Bielema pointed to Allen's interception on the second series of the game after Arkansas had scored on its first possession.
“We had an interception and the next four trips are three-and-outs,” Bielema said. “There's only one guy who threw the interception and there's only one guy who the defender stepped in front of for the interception. How it effects the other nine guy negatively is beyond me.
“Last week our No.1 emphasis was adversity. When adversity strikes you don't try to fight it alone, you fight it together. That's the part we've got to rally around. Everybody has got to step up better starting with me as head coach and all my assistants.”
Who Played Well?
Despite the big loss to the Gamecocks, Bielema did note some players who played well.
“The last two games Demarcus Hodge has played his best games,” Bielema said.
Bielema said if there is a silver lining in a game like Saturday it's that some of the younger players played their best games.
“Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper played their best so far,” Bielema said. “We've got to get Hunter Henry some help at the tight end. With that best said, Mitchell Loewen played his best game the last three or four weeks.
“If Keon Hatcher gets ball security taken care of and catches the ball over the middle that one time he's doing everything else we're asking him to do.”