1. Allen’s Truck Egged
Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said quarterbacks typically receive too much credit for wins and too much blame for losses.
So Chaney wasn’t exactly shocked to hear quarterback Brandon Allen’s truck was covered in broken eggs when the Razorbacks returned from their 24-17 overtime loss against Mississippi State in Little Rock on Saturday night.
“You’re polarizing a little bit when you play quarterback, or you’re the head coach or you call plays,” Chaney said Monday as the Razorbacks prepared for the season finale at LSU. “Those things happen. People get upset and do things they probably ought not be doing. But at the end of the day, it comes with the territory.
“We understand that. We don’t like it, but at the end of the day, let’s play football.”
Allen’s truck was egged after he completed 10 of 17 passes for 114 yards with an interception in the loss. The game ended when Allen threw an interception on fourth-and-9 from the Mississippi State 24 during the overtime period. The Bulldogs had scored the go-ahead touchdown on their first play of overtime.
Tight end Austin Tate posted a picture of Allen’s egg-covered truck on his Twitter page after the Razorbacks returned to Fayetteville on Saturday night and wrote: “Thanks for the support fans..really makes us want to keep going and change the situation we’re in!” The tweet was later deleted.
Arkansas set the school record for longest losing streak last Saturday, dropping their eighth straight. The Arkansas offense has struggled during the skid and is ranked 13th in the SEC in scoring (20.1 points a game), last in passing offense (145.8 yards) and 11th in total offense (356.9 yards)
Allen has completed 47.6 percent of his passes this season, throwing for 1,374 yards with 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He got off to a great start in nonconference play, but missed nearly two games after suffering a shoulder injury in the first quarter of Arkansas’ 24-3 win against Southern Miss.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said he found out about the incident Saturday night and called Allen the next morning to check on his quarterback.
“I know what he’s like. He is a quarterback, but I also know he has a mentality like a lineman,” Bielema said. “I knew that I wanted to prevent anything from happening … He assured me he wasn’t going to take any retaliation, you know. …
“Unfortunately, a side to college football that is a little bit ugly at times.”
2. Tricks Not Treats
Bielema and the Razorbacks have reached into their bag of tricks on numerous occasions this season, using fake punts, halfback passes and other gadgets to try to jump start a team that has struggled to win games.
But Bielema said after the failed fake punt against Mississippi State — which helped turn the tide of a game the Razorbacks had led 10-0 — he doesn’t plan on the gadgets being a staple in Arkansas’ plans in the future.
“Hopefully, as we get better at winning football games, you’ll see less and less of that,” Bielema said Monday. “It’s just a point where we’re at, you know sometimes you’ve got to go into an unusual well to try to get the results that you want.”
The tricks worked earlier in the season. Jonathan Williams threw a touchdown pass at Rutgers. Punter Sam Irwin-Hill completed a pass to long snapper Alan D’Appollonio as well during that game. But they haven’t had success lately.
Ole Miss foiled a halfback pass earlier this month, then scored two quick touchdowns to take a big lead in its eventual 34-24 win. Mississippi State outscored Arkansas 21-7 after the failed fake punt in the second quarter last Saturday.
3. Message Received
Bielema thought running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins handled their first quarter discipline well last Saturday. Both were held out after being late to a weight lifting session last week.
“I had a great conversation with them on Friday before we left about why it happened, what we needed to do,” Bielema said. “Their responses were great. They were excited to get back in the ball game. My guess is we won’t have anything like that out of them for a long time.”
Williams rushed for a team-high 59 yards on eight carries after sitting out the first quarter. Collins added 52 yards on 10 attempts, although his fumble inside the Mississippi State 10-yard line proved to be a critical mistake in the loss.
Running backs coach Joel Thomas is confident Collins will work to make up for the ball security mistake this week. Thomas also said he was proud of the way Korliss Marshall and Kody Walker carried the rushing load in the first quarter last week.
“The kids, they understand why that decision was made and that’s just a case of them having bad timing and a point needed to be made,” Thomas said. “Hopefully that doesn’t come about with anybody on this team anymore.”
4. Extra Points
• Bolivar (Mo.) quarterback Rafe Peavey signed his financial aid agreement with the Razorbacks on Monday. Peavey intends to enroll at Arkansas later this winter. He is the second high school prospect to sign a financial aid agreement with the Razorbacks this month, joining cornerback Chris Murphy. Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney could not comment on Peavey earlier Monday, but wrote “couldn’t be happier today” on his Twitter page later.
• Bielema said cornerback Tevin Mitchel — who started the first 10 games — has rejoined the team after missing the Mississippi State game because his mother suffered a stroke. Bielema said Mitchel’s mother remains hospitalized, but is doing better. “Our prayers continue to go out with Tevin and his family,” Bielema said.
• Bielema said he got a “huge” response from his team and recruits after the Razorbacks wore their anthracite uniforms against the Bulldogs. Bielema said Arkansas intends to return to a more traditional look — mentioning the Darren McFadden era uniforms — next season. But Bielema also said the Razorbacks will continue to have alternate uniforms. “It’s a huge, huge deal in recruiting,” Bielema said. “I know no one wants to hear that. Especially the 55-year-old fan that has had season tickets since he was 8. I get it. But if it helps us get one more recruit that might give us two more wins, you’re going to see some gray. I hate to tell you.”