1. Mullen Mum on QBs
1. Mullen Mum on QBs
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen hasn’t announced which one of his three quarterbacks will start against Arkansas on Saturday.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said Thursday he doesn’t blame him.
"I’ve been in that shoe, too," Bielema said. "I will say this: I don’t know what advantage it would be us to know who they’re going to start. If I was a coach at Mississippi State, I don’t think I’d be telling as well."
Mullen has had the opportunity to keep quiet on the quarterback front because of injuries to Dak Prescott (elbow) and Tyler Russell (shoulder).
Prescott, who has started six games, didn’t play in last week’s loss to Alabama after being injured a week earlier. Russell started and played most of the game, but left in the fourth quarter after suffering an injury following an interception. Freshman Damian Williams came off the bench to replace Russell and finish the game.
It has forced Arkansas to prepare for the possibility of seeing any of the three when the teams meet in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Bielema said earlier this week each quarterback had different strengths, which is something the Razorbacks have to consider. But he added that Arkansas wasn’t changing its defensive plans based solely on which quarterback is in the game.
He doesn’t expect Mississippi State’s offense to change, either.
"I don’t think they have three playbooks that they hand out to the offense in case whoever is in there," Bielema said. "But we know who’s got what strengths. Maybe not as well as they do, but we know what certain quarterbacks bring to the table.
"It’s more of a heightened awareness when this quarterback’s in there, you may expect more of a run-type offense. When this quarterback is (in), more a pass-type offense. With the freshman, you could anything obviously. So, it’s not so much different calls, it’s an awareness of what might particularly happen."
2. Kiero Cares
Bielema has credited his senior class for continuing to work despite the disappointments the past few weeks. He also said the group cares about the coaching staff, something one of them demonstrated recently.
"A guy came in the other day and he was very emotional, said he was worried about me," Bielema said. "I said, ‘You don’t have to worry about me. I’m OK. I get frustrated, and I’m very mad and very upset, but I get to a chance to come back and do this again. You don’t. That tears me up.’"
Bielema didn’t reveal a name at first, but later said it was fullback Kiero Small.
"Kiero cares, man," Bielema said. "He’s going to make a great coach. I hope he plays a long time in the NFL, but I’ll hire him in a heartbeat back here."
3. Corner Question
Bielema said Arkansas has made a decision on what it will do at one cornerback spot, giving redshirt freshman Jared Collins his first start Saturday. The other side remains undecided between struggling junior Tevin Mitchel or freshman D.J. Dean.
Collins will earn the start after getting most of the work in practice ahead of Carroll Washington, who was slowed by a heel injury. Bielema said Washington improved late in the week and should be available to play against the Bulldogs.
So will sophomore Will Hines, who is returning from a broken wrist. Bielema said Arkansas has not determined how much Hines will play against the Bulldogs.
"Will Hines will play, but he won’t start," Bielema said. "It will be kind of a game-time decision to see how much he gets involved."
4. Extra Points
Bielema said Arkansas may award helmet stickers for players beginning with the 2014 season. He never used helmet stickers at Wisconsin because "there’s a team in that league that does it that just makes my skin crawl. So I didn’t … But every year brings a new opportunity." … Arkansas announced that Lassiter (Ga.) High cornerback Chris Murphy had signed a financial aid agreement with the university. New NCAA legislation allowed high school players who are on track to graduate in December and enroll early a chance to sign financial aid papers. "Chris has worked a long time to get this early graduation," Bielema said. "I know (cornerbacks coach) Taver (Johnson) first saw him in high school and was really, really intrigued with just his, not just what you learned about him in the academic world, but what he saw on the football field and also in the athletic realm." … Bielema said DE Chris Smith will wear injured DT Robert Thomas’ No. 98 jersey Saturday. Arkansas originally planned to have Smith and running back Alex Collins wear the jersey for the Mississippi State game, but Bielema said plans changed. "There were thoughts of it, but he is not going to be in that now. Possibly the next game," Bielema said.
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau