FAYETTEVILLE -- Alabama Coach Nick Saban opened his comments about No. 16 Arkansas at his Monday news conference by saying Razorbacks quarterback Austin Allen "is playing great for them."
Saban also praised Arkansas' offensive balance, the Razorbacks' play-action passing game and went on to tout the junior Allen again.
"He's a very good athlete," Saban said. "But I've been very, very impressed with his decision making, his judgment and his ability to make -- he's got a really good arm -- a lot of throws down the field.
"He executes their offense extremely well. Does a good job of faking on their play-action passes."
Allen's 167.69 efficiency rating leads the SEC, and his 67.6 percent passing ranks second in the SEC behind Auburn's Sean White (68.4 percent).
Allen has 1,232 passing yards to trail Missouri's Drew Lock (1,675), Ole Miss' Chad Kelly (1,596) and Texas A&M's Trevor Knight (1,261) in the conference.
FB Johnson will play
Fullback Hayden Johnson will play against Alabama, Razorbacks Coach Bret Bielema said, but the freshman won't start.
Johnson, 19, was arrested by UA police at 1:43 a.m. Sunday and charged with public intoxication and being a minor in possession of alcohol.
"Obviously, the good news was he wasn't driving, he wasn't causing any harm," Bielema said Monday. "Just harm to himself. That's got to be a learning experience for him.
"He took ownership in it and had a lot of remorse. ... He's a beautiful kid raised by beautiful people and will be a good one."
Bielema said he hadn't talked to Johnson's parents, so he hadn't set guidelines for Johnson. But he indicated Johnson will have mandatory counseling "just to make sure we don't have anything deeper than what it appears."
Johnson has one catch for 18 yards and has made four starts.
Kendrick Jackson or Austin Cantrell will probably start at fullback against Alabama, Bielema said.
Arkansas' home game against No. 14 Ole Miss on Oct. 15 will kick off at 6 p.m. on ESPN, the SEC office announced on Monday.
The Razorbacks (4-1, 0-1 SEC) will be playing in their fifth night game on their seventh consecutive playing date. Ole Miss (3-2, 1-1 SEC) has an open date this weekend while Arkansas is hosting No. 1 Alabama.
Arkansas has a 33-28-1 edge in the series and has won two in a row over the Rebels, including a 53-52 decision in overtime last year in Oxford, Miss.
Dan Skipper, Arkansas' 6-10 offensive tackle, earned SEC special teams player of the week honors on Monday after he blocked a field goal in Arkansas' 52-10 victory over Alcorn State.
Skipper was the SEC's offensive lineman of the week after Arkansas' 41-38 double-overtime victory at No. 15 TCU, a game in which he blocked a 38-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in regulation to preserve a 28-28 tie.
3 more weeks
Arkansas is entering a critical three-game stretch -- all against SEC West opponents -- that will go a long way toward determining bowl positioning before the Razorbacks reach their open date.
The Razorbacks play host to Ole Miss and travel to Auburn after Saturday's 6 p.m. game against No. 1 Alabama. A bye week is followed by home games against Florida and LSU, then road dates at Mississippi State and Missouri.
Arkansas enters week 6 ranked No. 52 nationally in both total offense and total defense. The Razorbacks are averaging 443.4 yards per game, 246.4 through the air and 197.0 on the ground.
Arkansas is allowing 374.4 yards per game, 211.0 through the air and 163.4 on the ground.
Arkansas is No. 6 in the SEC in total offense and No. 7 in the SEC in total defense.
On a roll
The Crimson Tide has beaten Arkansas nine consecutive times under Nick Saban since 2007, and many of the games have been lopsided.
Alabama's average margin of victory the last nine years is 25.5 points, bolstered by back-to-back 52-0 victories in 2012 and 2013.
The Razorbacks' close losses in that span include 41-38 in 2007, 24-20 in 2010 and 14-13 in 2014.
The Arkansas coaching staff selected receiver Jared Cornelius, center Frank Ragnow and running back Devwah Whaley as their offensive MVPs from Saturday's 52-10 victory over Alcorn State.
The defensive MVP was cornerback Jared Collins, and Ryder Lucas was chosen as special teams player of the week.
Whaley had his first 100-yard performance with 135 rushing yards, including a 75-yard touchdown. Cornelius had four receptions for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. Collins played shutdown corner on his side and accounted for one tackle.
ESPN's top crew of Joe Tessitore, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe will work Saturday's game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. It will mark the third Arkansas game the crew has called in the last five weeks, as the trio also worked Arkansas' 41-38 double-overtime victory at TCU and its 45-24 loss to Texas A&M two weeks ago.
Sports on 10/04/2016
Print Headline: Saban full of praise for Allen