Head coach Bret Bielema on junior quarterback Brandon Allen’s truck incident: “We had a situation pop up early this morning. With phone calls after 4 a.m., your breath certainly stops for a moment. I saw it was Brandon Allen calling me. He explained to me that he wanted to let me know that his car was on fire, he was watching it across the street and the fire department was there. His dad was on his way and unfortunately something put his car on fire and he wasn’t sure what had taken place. Obviously the authorities were there and started a formal investigation. We don’t have a lot of details right now, but Brandon is safe. Our first priority was to make sure everybody was safe and taken care of. Right now we’re just allowing them to work through the process between the fire and police department. We’re trying to make the transition easy for Brandon. This is the second time there’s been an issue at his place, but we’re working through the details of that and how to respect the police investigation and the fire department.”
On the wide receivers: “I don’t know if we’re faster or slower. I think that all five of our wide outs have more than adequate speed. The fastest guys out of that group would maybe be Jared Cornelius or Keon Hatcher. They’ve caught the ball very, very well. The biggest issue I had a year ago when we were trying to throw the football was we had a receiver that was open and a ball that was delivered within reason where the strike zone was and we couldn’t come up with a catch. We’ve caught the ball so much more effectively this fall, and in camp especially.”
On opening the season with an SEC contest against Auburn: “I always used to sit at a conference from afar and look down here where these guys are playing each other early on. I thought it was a great thing. I think it allows you to focus early on and with the time of the schedule, against the defending SEC Champions. They’ve got players offensively. I don’t know how long their quarterback’s not going to be in there, but their second-string quarterback is a very good player. Who knows how long the second-string corner is going to be in there, and their second-string corner is a good player. Who knows if the safety’s going to play. There’s a lot of unknown things but what matters is the 11 guys who are going to suit up for Auburn are going to be well coached.”
On the running backs: “They’re all very talented. Every one of them knows about the other guy too. It tends to make the other one that much more focused and that much more detailed. The task is at hand with Coach Joel Thomas and Coach Jim Chaney on who’s going to start the game. All three of them have had a nice fall camp, and I’m excited to see them play.”
On the new defense: “I couldn’t be more pleased with what defensive coordinator Robb Smith, defensive backs coach Clay Jennings, defensive line coach Rory Segrest and linebackers coach Randy Shannon have done. Those guys together I think have been very engaged on how to make Arkansas better. With the three new guys that I brought in, the details of their coaching shows up. Robb is always quoted saying, ‘the devil’s in the details,’ and these guys are very detail oriented. It’s going to be a tough matchup, going out of the gate you’re going against one of the most proficient offenses in 2013 – but 2013 was 2013. Whatever shows up in the backfield, and whatever person lines up on the field, we’ve just got to roll with it and make the best of the situation. What I’m excited about is our depth chart in particular and the consistency we’ve had over the last 10 days of preparation. We know who’s lining up, we don’t have any suspensions, we don’t have anything hanging over us.”
Kickoff: The Razorbacks open the season with a Southeastern Conference contest at Auburn University on Aug. 30. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium and will be televised on the SEC Network.