Bret Bielema met with the media on Monday and discussed several things from this past week's game to the one this Saturday as well as injuries, awards and more.
Junior defensive end Trey Flowers was honored by both the coaching staff and SEC for his play on Saturday.
Here's five things that stood out from Bielema's conference:
“One thing I like to do as a staff, I like to do, is give out MVP's offense, defense and special teams,” Bielema said. “Offensively we made some guys honorable mention.
“I thought our two running backs [Jonathan Williams] and Alex Collins really, really played well. I thought Brandon Allen had an extremely productive day and all the things we ask a quarterback to do. Javontee Herndon obviously was very productive with the two touchdown catches and the big catch on that one touchdown catch. Grady Ollison also played extremely well. Our two MVPs went to Kiero Small who had over 50 snaps and played a valuable role and not just on offense, but special teams. That touchdown catch and run that he turned into a touchdown was a big-time play. Travis Swanson just again just blew me away. He had 16 knockdowns as a center that's an impressive number. I'm very, very excited to watch him play every game.”
On defense, end Trey Flowers was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. That's something that pleased Bielema.
“Our defensive scout MVP I really give credit to Jerry Mitchell,” Bielema said. “A senior linebacker who is not up there playing but did a good job all week on the scout team. Hopefully we'll expand his role.
“Defensive, some guys honorable mention we mentioned Robert Thomas, Austin Jones, both two seniors who played really, really well. Obviously Robert has played a lot of ball, Austin not so much. Our defensive MVP running away was Trey Flowers. He just blew us away with his pass rushing ability. The thing about Trey is he gets stronger as the game goes along. Our offensive scout MVP was Chris Jones, a walk-on fullback who just joined us about a week and half ago. He has been very impressive. Special teams MVP went to Zach Hocker needless to say. I'm just impressed with what he does with his leg day in and day out. Our scout team's special team's MVP was Dakota Baggett.”
Alex Collins went over the century mark in his first college game.
“Alex Collins and Hunter Henry played really, really well,” Bielema said. “Hunter went through some growing pains as well as Alex. But to play in a game like that and to win like we did I think those guys can be coached up is a big deal.
“Drew Morgan obviously didn't catch one, but was involved in the game plan in several different environments. Both (Denver) Kirkland and (Dan) Skipper got into the game. Kirkland got about 18 snaps from the line of scrimmage we'll use that as a huge growing experience. On defense, both Brooks Ellis and D.J. Dean played on special teams. They didn't get any snaps from the line of scrimmage, but we'll grow their role. Austin Allen was held out. We're going to continue to see if we can do that with him. That's a work in progress. Two guys we prepared, but the time wasn't right were Melvinson Hartfield and Korliss Marshall. Both those guys have a possibility of getting involved in some special teams.”
“J-Will (Jonathan Williams) is fine,” Bielema said. “He obviously came back in the game. Was a little sore, but shouldn't be an issue moving forward with him.
“Rohan Gaines, we don't practice on Mondays, Rohan was stiff. We hope to get him back by mid-week and to practicing to be ready for Saturday. Everybody else is OK.”
Bielema said Alan Turner would likely be the starter should Gaines not be able to play on Saturday.
“I think so,” Bielema said of Turner starting. “It was only seven days ago we moved [Turner] to that position. We just figured in the game we were in and environment that [Tiquention Coleman] would be better served in more of condensed packages.
Jarrett Lake drew his first college start this past Saturday and had seven tackles.
“So we put [Turner] there and he did a good job. There wasn't a lot of action at Eric Bennett. I think those two guys together have formed a little bit of a relationship and that would be the combo.”
“It was nice to see J-Lake do the things he has kind of been doing during camp,” Bielema said. “It was a difficult game.
“There wasn't a lot of consistency to the field. There was a lot of stuff to the boundary, but like I mentioned I thought Austin Jones played very, very well. I like what he did. Braylon Mitchell wasn't out there a lot. We ran with our nickel which took Braylon out of the game. He just didn't get many opportunities. I was pleased with how they set the front, the way they handled plays and the way they reacted to adversity.”
Offensive Line Impresses
Arkansas starts Swanson at center, Mitch Smothers and Brey Cook at the guards along with Ollison and David Hurd at the tackles. Luke Charpentier played frequently and is pushing Smothers at left guard. Kirkland and Skipper played at tackle as noted earlier by Bielema.
“Right to left,” Bielema said. “I thought Grady Ollison's arrow was a big-time up. He had a nice camp, but was kind of up and down. I thought he played extremely well.
“Brey Cook, you take away two or three plays, played about as well physical as anybody up front. I was really impressed with him. Travis Swanson is a no-brainer. I haven't seen the SEC awards, but if he isn't the Offensive Lineman of the Week I don't know what is wrong. To get 16 knockdowns is absolutely insane. At left guard, I thought Charpentier and Smothers both came in and did some things that get you excited. I think that's a position that's still kind of a work in progress. Hurd, I think the thing about Hurd is he is always going to be there. You never hear about him, he's not going to cost you. He's positive when the ball is coming towards him. I'm very, very excited about watching him grow. As a guy, he has quietly improved as much as anybody in his offensive line play.”