FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema met with the media today to preview Saturday's game against Southern Miss.
The game will be played in Razorback Stadium with kickoff set for 11:21 a.m. It will be televised by the SEC Network.
There were plenty of topics covered during the 20-minute press conference. We'll first start with Bielema's Samford week most valuable players: Fullback Kiero Small (Offensive MVP), Defensive tackle Robert Thomas (Defensive MVP), Kicker Zach Hocker (Special teams MVP), WR Scotty Thurman (Offensive Scout Team MVP), CB Kevin Richardson (Defensive Scout Team MVP) and Matt Reynolds (Special Teams Scout Team MVP).
Here are three other things we learned today:
1. Concerns? What Concerns? — Bielema was asked if he had any concerns on the sideline after falling behind 21-17 late in the third quarter. His answer: None. "When we’re behind, you have a little alarm that goes off in your head and realize you’ve got to score points," Bielema said. "But I thought our fourth-quarter mentality would kick in. It was just a matter of time." It did kick in. Arkansas dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring Samford 14-0 and outgaining the Bulldogs 163-10. Bielema looked back at the mistakes that led to the poor play in the second and third quarters, saying it wasn't about physical limitations. It was more mental with lapses and mistakes.
2. Adversity is a good thing — Arkansas' performance did leave plenty of head scratching. But Bielema didn't see it that way. Instead, he saw something very valuable in falling behind in the third quarter: "In my opinion, you couldn’t have scripted anything better," Bielema said. "I know it’s not laid out the way that everybody wanted it, but for me to have a team that faced adversity, that was behind in the fourth quarter, that had battled through some injuries before the game started as well as some guys that got playing time during the course of the game ... It was as good as we could ask for, and our guys responded with a win."
3. Tate, Peters Could Be Back— Bielema said Arkansas TE Austin Tate (shoulder) and LB Otha Peters (arm) were both scheduled for X-rays Monday and the results could get the two back on the field Saturday. Both suffered preseason injuries and have missed the first two games. "They were in no-contact last week. If they can get a little contact this week, there’s a chance both of those guys could play," Bielema said. Arkansas also is optimistic DE Trey Flowers and S Rohan Gaines will return from knee injuries. LB Jarrett Lake is scheduled to return from his one-game suspension, which was for unspecified reasons. It means Arkansas could be pretty close to full strength for Southern Miss.
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau