Today's Paper Obits Best of Northwest Arkansas Opinion: Before we end 2018 NWA Outdoors Today's Photos Crime Puzzles
story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads and other staff members on the sideline during the 33-10 loss at LSU Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. - Photo by Ben Goff

— Follow along as Bret Bielema, Dan Enos and Paul Rhoads meet with the media Monday afternoon.

Bret Bielema

— First half, couldn't get out of that field position battle. Kind of unfolded, but in retrospect you don't realize how many people had to step in there. Will Gragg, Jeremy Patton and Jack Kraus were good. Kraus got back out there after concussion caused him to miss a few weeks.

— Ty Clary will be out for about six weeks with an MCL.

— Hjalte Froholdt injured his other ankle and it was worse, but expect him back later this week.

— Austin Cantrell suffered a knee bruise but all the tests were negative.

— Cheyenne O'Grady stayed home but should be good this week.

— De'Andre Coley was cleared and played some on special teams. Should be OK this week.

— Austin Allen has no issues. Only soreness is in his legs. Nothing signifnicant better.

— Cole Kelley is suspended indefinitely. Will revisit his status after Mississippi State. Will still be able to get treatment, but won't be involved this week.

— Mississippi State does what they do, with Dak Prescott and now Nick Fitzgerald. When their QB plays well, they play well.

— MSU blitzed Alabama a little more than other games. When you play Bama, you typically make some changes. Overloaded sides, brought good pressure. On offense, they won time of possession.

— Dan Mullen's done a tremendous job. Arkansas is a 4-6 team, has to move forward. Last year, Arkansas won and sent MSU into a 5-win season, which sent them to a bowl in Florida and propelled them to where they are now. Compete against MSU a lot in recruiting. They have good players.

— Would like to get depth. The 11 a.m. kick is good for recruiting. Will have a number of defensive players in who could help. Depth affects special teams and over the course of the game.

— Fitzgerald can throw and run well. He has a strong arm and they have great concepts. He's a big guy, so it's not a one-on-one tackle. Very composed. Threw up Saturday and came back in unfazed.

— Have to connect on deep balls when they have them. Had a few opportunities Saturday and against Coastal Carolina. To get respect and loosen up the coverage, they have to have 'X' shots down the field. Dan Enos has done that.

— Respects Todd Grantham.

— Allen's missed throws were the results of a lot of things. Missing time affected him. "I think you'll see a big spike in him this week."

— Liked Will Gragg since day one. Had to go through some things, but just lines up and does his business. Made some nice things happen with the football, read blocks and had ball security. He's a little leaner than when he came in and he's not even close to what he could be.

— Doesn't think about future. Focused on the task at hand. Full speed, never seen anything to tell me different. "I know what we built. I know what we can be." The number of freshmen and sophomores in the two-deep is awesome.

— Hasn't talked with Jeff Long or his representative. Remembers Butch Jones being under fire two years ago when they got up there. Knows that wins have to come. Everyone wants a lot more wins "and we'll get there." Kids have responded to adversity without flinch. Next man up, let's get through this and we'll persevere. "When we get over that hump, it'll be that much better."

— Will have more than 18 spots because of early graduation and transfers. Could get up to 20 guys.

— Ty Storey got a lot of reps last week. Had a package that he could take over for Kelley if he couldn't go. Good understanding of the offense. They've stressed that no matter what happened this year, the spring will be an open battle.

— First year as a head coach they went 11-1 in the regular season. All 13 games were at 11 a.m. Only thing different is bringing them over Thursday morning. Meal at 7:15 a.m. The 11 kicks are good because you get a full day Friday and then can have time with them after the game. Late games, everyone is out the door by the time the coaches are done.

— During his five years here, they have the toughest schedule in the SEC. "You play the schedule that's in front of you. I came in here expecting to do what we're going to do." To battle the way they have, to put the product on the field, it was a big deal to hear about Cole because that doesn't happen, which is big for the program and parents.

— Instantly flip the switch to go into what you're going to do with a situation like Kelley's. Kept him in the building Sunday to make him face his teammates.

— Kelley was very quiet. "One of the few times I've seen Cole quiet." Agreed to all the terms laid out for him. Have to take it, run and learn. These things pop up. Haven't really popped up in this program, but have to deal with it.

— Sell the strength of schedule in recruiting. The kids coming this weekend will be able to play immediately, so you sell them the effect you can have in short fashion. Can't be woe-is-me.

— Three big plays allowed were a little scheme, but also a little individual technique. The field position the defense battled through in the first half was a true credit. But football games don't last 30 minutes, they're 60.

— Three of Blake Johnson's punts weren't what they needed. "I don't need a punter who can hit it 2 out of 4, I need a punter who can hit it 4 out of 4."

Dan Enos

— "That's a private conversation" with Cole Kelley.

— Austin Allen got a game under his belt and now he and Ty Storey will get the reps going forward.

— Allen didn't play good enough to win. There were some things he missed. As a QB, his job is simple: win or lose.

— Jack Lindsey will be the No. 3 quarterback this week.

— MSU is a real good defense. Very effective against the run. Defeated blocks, did a good job in coverage against Bama. Good multiplicity.

— "I don't have a comment on" Cole.

— Grantham has a good resume, has coached in the NFL and been at good college schools and been successful wherever he's been. Their defense is playing fast, confident and aggressive.

— MSU has done a good job pressuring teams. "It presents a lot of challenges for you."

— Obviously Allen getting hit gives him confidence his shoulder will hold up. LSU is well-coached. "Hopefully we'll see a step forward this week and he'll play a step faster."

— Feels good about Storey. He's progressed. Continually trying to improve on what they've talked about. The reps he got last week will help and he'll get all the twos this week.

— Jeremy Patton is getting more comfortable. Wasn't here for the spring or the whole summer, so every week he's growing. Able to put him in in different situations now, too. Not where he needs to be, but continuing to get better. Every practice is important for him. Been impressive at being able to handle the grind. Not having a spring or summer in conditioning program, he's been able to fight through nicks.

— Gragg did a good job. "He was impressive." Has earned more opportunity with how he played. Tell kids they'll get opportunities and how they play will determine what opportunities they get. Has had a serious mindset and been focused in meetings and practice. "Starting to really, really earn the trust of his teammates and coaches." Role will probably increase this week.

— Have to adjust how you call the game when offensive linemen go down. Adjust route depths because of protection issues. "There's a lot of adjusting that goes on. You've got to call the game differently when you don't have all your guys, that's for sure. It's kind of how this year's gone." It's part of the deal.

— Thought Allen did a good job managing the game with shifts, motions and clock management. Only senior left on the offense. It's important guys hear from him.

— Bielema has done a tremendous job. He's a veteran. "He's consistent." Can't get too high with highs or low with lows. Had a good message every week to get team ready to play.

— Storey has developed quite a bit. Continues to work on his throwing motion even to this day. Practiced at a level where other coaches and players comment. Great young man. Have a room full of them.

— Devwah Whaley ran hard, played physical. That's a very good defense and he had one of his better games.

— Had downfield opportunities on downfield shots and didn't hit them. Missed a read, underthrew and overthrew. "We've seen Austin make those plays. Even when Cole was in there, we had opportunities. ... It's kind of mind scratching, because we're very good in practice on those throws." Going to work to improve it. Allen threw deep balls well in practice.

Paul Rhoads

— Field was tilted from the opening kickoff and they didn't do anything to change it in the first half. Failed to get a turnover. Guys did a great job managing the field position. They missed a FG and had the one long TD, but held LSU out other than that. Was proud of the first half.

— Didn't respond to what they needed to do to win in the second half. Had a few opportunities to have third-and-long situations. Didn't happen and it snowballed.

— This was the first game there were really no substitutions. Missed Dre Coley's physical style of play and his number of snaps. Will play Saturday. Would like to see Chevin Calloway on the field a little more. Lot of guys across the country are playing guys the entire length of the game and surviving.

— Britto Tutt was coming off recovering from a knee and then got a shoulder stinger. Felt apprehensive about playing him because of that.

— Fitzgerald is good. "He's fast and I don't think enough people give him credit for that." Have to change things schematically with the QB run game. Provides a great challenge but so do their RBs. 22 leads them and is more than capable. The offensive line is good and if you allow their big bodies to get hands on, you're going to have a tough time making plays.

— Fitzgerald throws some outstanding balls that he has full control of where he wants to put it. Throws it with more consistent accuracy than a year ago.

— Dan Mullen and he became head coaches at the same time. Mullen contacted him about going to work with him after Auburn and before he got the job, followed him since. Mullen's done a great job of building it and is now in a position to sustain it. Lot of credit needs to be given.

— Mullen called the plays at Utah in 2005 Fiesta Bowl and he thought they were innovative at the time. Still do. They take advantage of what Fitzgerald is and ride that horse.

— Consistency is the way to describe Scoota Harris. He takes full advantage of the week. You can see he isn't there when they first get notes, but he understands the plan by the time Saturday arrives. It's shown in his level of play.

— 22 is a good back. They go 2 TE a lot. Have some fast inside WRs they'll put in the backfield, try to get them lost in formations. Very balanced in production.

— Bielema has handled everything "like a rock. Really has not deviated from our approach and staying the course." Consistency is a big factor when working with 18 and 19-year olds and he's done that. Same with the staff and he's done that too.

— A number of drives Alabama's defense couldn't get off the field, which isn't common. Had an excellent balance of run-pass, running the QB and not, had some pass that kept them on edge formationally and through play action.

Sponsor Content