FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema met with the media for the final time before Arkansas travels to New Jersey to play Rutgers on Saturday.
The quarterback situation — Brandon Allen's health, AJ Derby's practice work — remained the key question. Allen remains a "game-time decision," according to Bielema. If he can't play, Arkansas' quarterback depth chart will look like this: AJ Derby, Austin Allen, Brian Buehner and Damon MItchell.
Below are more thoughts from Bielema on the quarterbacks:
On Allen's work in practice: "Brandon allen did take some snaps today. He felt comfortable. A couple under center as well as shotgun. Didn’t let him throw the football, but he keeps making progress. We’ll see where he’s at on Saturday.
On AJ Derby's work this week: "He handled the majority of the work. I would say that we had a little bit more even reps than we would have if it was a normal week, just because we wanted to get Austin going a little bit as well. In case BA doesn't play. I thought he's handled it very well. He threw the ball around extremely well today. Thursday we have a scripted practice, kind of like a game-like situation and he actually kind of got a little bit more in rhythm there. I think from the time he first entered the game on Saturday to where he is today, it's been a very, very good blessing to have all this time to prepare him.
On the criteria for Allen to play: “I think A. doctor's clearance first and foremost. You guys know the proponent I am for player safety. We won't put him on the field unless they feel that he can protect himself in a normal game situation and then obviously he’s got to feel good enough to go in there as well. The thing that's been fun is all week I think he’s gotten significantly better every day. There’s nobody that’s more engaged and more who wants to play more than him.”
On if Allen remains a gametime decision: “Yeah, I would say even early in the day you hope you’d kind of get an understanding because it is a later day. Might let him throw some … or feel himself around in the hotel room early or right when we get to the stadium to see where he’s at.”
On if Allen can get there based on what he has seen: "Well when you see your starting quarterback in the third quarter last week come out in a sling to where he got rid of the sling on … I don’t know if it was Tuesday or Wednesday. To see him out bopping around out there now and taking snaps - it makes you feel good. But on the same account you’ve got to understand exactly where he’s at and he hasn't gotten 100 percent assurance yet from the doctors that we can put him in there."
Still considered a bruised shoulder: "Yeah, there isn't anything significant structure wise or anything like that.”
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau