1. Allen Assessment: Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney left Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium believing his starting quarterback played a solid game despite the 45-21 loss.

1. Allen Assessment: Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney left Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium believing his starting quarterback played a solid game despite the 45-21 loss.

He felt the same after watching Brandon Allen on film the next day.

"He played with a nice calm," Chaney said Sunday. "He delivered the ball accurately the majority of the time. His decision-making was where I wanted it to be. … It wasn’t a flawless performance, but I believe it was the best game he’s played against a good, quality opponent since I’ve been here. And I’m pleased with that."

Allen completed 18 of 31 passes for 175 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Most of the production came in the first half, but Arkansas coach Bret Bielema reiterated Monday the junior performed well in the season’s first test.

"He was in control. He was competitive. He had the demeanor," Bielema said. "He had an explanation for everything that was going around, where I think a year ago some of the times he’d give you an answer that was what you wanted to hear instead of what you needed to hear. I think communication wise, he was aware of a few things that as coaches it’s going to be priceless moving forward."

Allen did miss some missed throws and made what Chaney described as other "technical" mistakes. Bielema also indicated Allen got a little agitated at his younger brother, Austin Allen, who is in charge of signaling in plays for the offense.

They didn’t blame Allen for the interception, which was returned for a touchdown by Jermaine Whitehead. The quarterback was hit by safety Robensen Therezie as he was throwing the pass. The turnover gave Auburn a 35-21 lead.

Bielema remains convinced Arkansas’ offense is in good hands with Allen, though.

"Brandon Allen is going to be a very, very good quarterback," Bielema said. "He is a good quarterback already. I just think that for what we’re going to be able to do and where we’re going, he’s truly going to be rewarded for some very, very good play."

2. Learning the Threshold: Arkansas learned plenty of lessons in its opener. Bielema said one of the most valuable for the staff was finding out how much it can lean on players.

"There are certain guys, they get to that threshold somewhere between 30-50 snaps probably is their tap out," Bielema said. "It’s just that they can’t play that same level for a 70- or 80-play game against, you know, some really, really good competition. And I think we discovered that with certain players.

"We’ve got to make sure we’re aware of that as coaches, offensively, defensively, just to make sure that we’re not putting out players in a position. (Right guard) Denver Kirkland may have played his best game, but he got some relief, you know."

Arkansas kept pace with Auburn in the first half, but was dominated after the break. Bielema was asked if the fourth quarter – which Auburn controlled – was the product of the Hogs wearing down or the Tigers owning all the momentum.

"It was probably a little bit of both," Bielema said. "I asked the coaches beforehand - since this wasn’t my first rodeo – I wanted a pitch count of guys that we wanted to play evenly or at least have a certain ratio of whether it is 2/3, 1/3, 50-50, whatever. Whatever the pitch count is that we had designated, I want that to hold true.

"Some guys did a really good jobs at that, some guys we make sure we do a better job of it," Bielema added. "Momentum is a big factor in this game. "

3. Rough Ride: Chaney was one of the coaches stuck in the elevator at halftime last Saturday.

"We got in, the elevator started coming down and it stopped," Chaney said. "And we just sat there awhile. Hung out. Played some cards and then went on to the second half. That’s kind of the way it went down."

He said Sunday the group wasn’t stuck long — roughly five minutes — but it altered their halftime plans. Instead of going down to the Arkansas locker room, the coaches went back up to the box and spoke with players and coaches by phone.

Chaney didn’t think it played a factor in Arkansas’ rough second half, though.

"You learn in this profession you control the things you can control and everything else you can’t control is completely out of your hands," Chaney said. "My attention is solely on making sure we come out and perform at a higher level in the second half of football and address those issues. That’s 100 percent where my mind is at."

4. More Youth: Arkansas played 10 newcomers during its 45-21 loss at Auburn on Saturday.

Expect to see more on the field more when the Razorbacks play Nicholls State.

Bielema believes some of his younger players deserve more opportunities after working in reserve roles at Auburn. He pointed specifically to safety Josh Liddell, cornerback Henre’ Toliver and linebackers Josh Williams, Dwayne Eugene, Randy Ramsey and Khalia Hackett as candidates for more snaps Saturday.

Hackett did not play in the opener. Neither did center Frank Ragnow, although Bielema said both freshmen will help the Razorbacks this season.

"I think we’ve got an excellent opportunity with three non-conference opponents to play and to continue to grow before we pop up in SEC play again," said Bielema, whose team plays Nicholls State, Texas Tech and Northern Illinois before returning to conference play against Texas A&M on Sept. 27.

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau