1. Mitchel Ready?: Arkansas may have its most experienced cornerback back on the field when the Razorbacks play at Texas Tech on Saturday.

1. Mitchel Ready?: Arkansas may have its most experienced cornerback back on the field when the Razorbacks play at Texas Tech on Saturday.


Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said senior Tevin Mitchel, who missed the first two games because of a preseason hamstring injury, returned to practice this week and may be part of the Razorbacks’ defensive plans.


"He was significantly better than last week," Bielema said. "We put him in and did some testing things with him over the weekend, and he practiced (Tuesday). He started off the day down on the scouts, and performed very well, got involved in some 1-on-1s and finished in the team period with our 2s.


"So Tevin may get involved with us depending on how he holds up after (Wednesday’s) practice. But I’m very, very optimistic about that."


It’s a reversal from earlier this week, when Bielema mentioned for the second time the Razorbacks were considering a redshirt for Mitchel. Bielema wasn’t ready to say with certainty Mitchel will play Saturday, but said the cornerback is "upbeat."


"I get the idea the guy’s excited to get out there," Bielema said. "Especially playing a team like Texas Tech, a team that throws the ball around. As a DB, you want to play in these games. I’m excited. The thing he brings, to be overly simplistic, is he brings a lot of value and experience. Experience that he’s had playing the game of college football and also letting those other guys know how things need to be done."


Mitchel may not be the only defensive back returning for Saturday’s game.


Bielema also said safeties De’Andre Coley (hamstring) and Davyon McKinney (heel) should be available as well. The returning players mean Arkansas could be close to full strength in the secondary to face Texas Tech’s passing attack.


"The more bodies that we have the better," Arkansas defensive backs coach Clay Jennings said. "It keeps guys fresher. … Those guys over there do a great job in the passing game. … It will be a great test for us."


2. Running Back Splits: Arkansas entered the season with plans to divide the carries between running backs Alex Collins, Jonathan Williams and Korliss Marshall. So far, Collins has been the running back to receive the bulk of the work.


The sophomore has logged a team-high 23 carries for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns through two games. Williams has 11 carries for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Marshall has eight carries for 45 yards in one game.


"You’ve got to be happy," Williams said about the way carries have been divided so far. "I’m not the coach. I don’t tell who gets to play. So you just have to go with it."


Williams has made the most of his limited opportunities, averaging 16.1 yards on his 11 rushing attempts. It includes the 90-yard touchdown run against Nicholls State, which was part of his 143-yard performance on just four carries.


Arkansas is expected to get Marshall back in the ball-carrying rotation this week.


"We’re staying fresh," Collins said about the rotation. "No one is getting tired. We’ve all been getting the same amount of work, and it just feels great, going in there, getting a few carries and coming out, taking a break."


3. No Road Jitters: Arkansas will go on the road for the second time this season.


Winning at Texas Tech is no easy feat considering the Red Raiders haven’t lost a nonconference game at home since 2002. Or the fact Arkansas has lost eight straight road games dating back to the 2012 season. But quarterback Brandon Allen said the Razorbacks are confident after opening the season at Auburn on Aug. 30.


"It’s another away game for us," Allen said. "We’ve played in some hostile environments. We have a lot of experience on this team where we’ve played in the toughest places you can play. Really, the away games are pretty much the same for all of us now. It’s going to be a hostile environment, but we’re ready for it."


4. Extra Points


• Bielema indicated on the SEC Teleconference the Razorbacks would unveil some new wrinkles for Texas Tech. "We’re excited about some of the looks that we’re going to be able to break out that we haven’t shown to this point, in all phases," Bielema said. "I’m really excited offensively to do certain things differently. Defense, special teams. Any time you can throw in (punter) Sam Irwin’s ability to kick in both directions and rugby right and left, those are things that as we get into the season, will help us out in a lot of phases."


• Bielema said DE Deatrich Wise, who was held out of the Nicholls State game because of a sore knee, returned to practice Tuesday. But defensive line coach Rory Segrest said Wise isn’t back to 100 percent. "He’s coming along," Segrest said. "Obviously he gives us a little bit more length off the edge. We’re just trying to get him back to where he was when he came back to camp here."


• WR Jojo Robinson remains questionable for Saturday’s game. If he doesn’t play, Bielema indicated the freshman may not take the field this season. "If you haven’t played by this weekend as a true freshman, for the most part it’s probably conducive for you to able to redshirt this season," Bielema said.


— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau