Visiting Briella ‘all Hog’
FAYETTEVILLE — Bret Bielema brought a surprise into his Wednesday media conference.
Bielema entered the media interview room at the Fred Smith Center with his daughter Briella Bielema in his arms, followed by his wife Jen.
Bielema said he’d been getting a lot of questions about the progress of Briella, who was born July 8.
“She does call the Hogs in her sleep,” Bielema said as Briella looked at the bright lights and cooed. “A lot of times her hands are above her head, so she’s all Hog.
“We can’t talk about her weight. Jen says we can’t talk about her weight.”
Bielema briefly held his daughter in front of the cameras, then brought her to Jen, who cradled Briella and left the interview room.
Junior linebacker Dre Greenlaw practiced the past two days, Coach Bret Bielema said, highlighting the list of players returning from injuries for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Greenlaw is proceeding with caution in his return from foot surgery, and he’s also had a tight quad early in camp.
Bielema said linebacker Karl Roesler (hamstring), tight end Jeremy Patton (hip), defensive end Armon Watts (bruised elbow), cornerback Britto Tutt (knee), tight end Will Gragg (concussion), kicker Cole Hedlund (groin) and nose guard Dylan Hays (ankle) have all returned to practice this week. All of those players were either held out of Saturday’s scrimmage or dinged up during it.
Linebacker De’Jon Harris is not back to 100 percent after suffering a mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his knee, Bielema said, adding Harris received limited work Tuesday.
Receiver Brandon Martin, who missed the scrimmage with “soft tissue” issues in his back, has been given a medical treatment that requires he sit out a few days, Bielema said.
Quarterback Austin Allen has followed up his sizzling scrimmage performance with several good days of practice, the Arkansas coordinators said Wednesday.
Allen went 19 of 23 for 304 yards, including a 67-yard over-the-top touchdown pass to La’Michael Pettway, in Saturday’s scrimmage.
“We would have won a lot of football games with the way Austin Allen threw the football yesterday,” defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads said when asked about the advantage his defense had in facing a veteran SEC quarterback every day. “Man, he was on the money and threw a lot of balls that you couldn’t play as a defender. If he can pay like that all season long, we’ll be in every ballgame because of it.”
Freshman quarterback Daulton Hyatt was among 17 players who got stuck on an elevator in the Smith Center after practice Tuesday. The players were in the elevator for about an hour before being freed by maintenance workers and firefighters.
Hyatt looked like he had just finished practice when he was able to make it to the quarterbacks meeting with offensive coordinator Dan Enos.
“He was full of sweat,” Enos said. “I said, ‘Man, why did you get on that elevator?’ He goes, ‘I was one of the first ones on and then I couldn’t get off.’
“I don’t think I’ll be taking the elevator any time soon, especially with 15 of those guys on there.”
There were some big bodies stuck on the elevator, including Frank Ragnow, McTelvin Agim, Armon Watts, Briston Guidry and Deion Malone.
“We had to take three to five minutes of our meeting just to kind of get [Hyatt] calmed back down,” Enos said. “Because I think there was some tense moments on the elevator from what I hear.”
Bret Bielema said in the age of social media, he knew word of the elevator situation would spread quickly, but that in 12 seasons as a head coach it’s something he’s had happen to players between 20 and 30 times.
“It happens quite a bit,” Bielema said. “More than you think. We tell them obviously not to overstuff, but ….”
Cornerback Ryan Pulley started to get on the elevator, Bielema said, but then thought better of it.
“Ryan was trying to hop on the elevator as well, and he didn’t quite make it on,” Bielema said. “He said, ‘Y’all are going to get stuck,’ and that’s what happened.
“It can get into a scary situation, but all of our guys handled it well last night. Some of them better than others. But we got them out, everything was fine, and everything’s good today.”
Bret Bielema gave a wellreceived address Wednesday at the memorial service for Pat Gazzola, the owner of the Catfish Hole restaurant, which hosts recruits on their official visits and serves as host to Bielema’s weekly radio show.
Gazzola, 68, died Saturday.
Team captains Austin Allen, Frank Ragnow, Kevin Richardson and Santos Ramirez, along with Jared Cornelius and receivers coach Michael Smith, also attended the service.
Men’s basketball Coach Mike Anderson and his wife Marchieta, former coach Nolan Richardson, former cross country and track and field Coach John McDonnell, and many other athletic department and Razorback Foundation members were in attendance.
“Pat’s a guy I met when I first got here, and our relationship has grown over the last five years,” Bielema said. “He’s a guy that obviously loved the Hogs and has done a lot for the program. We adjusted our whole day of practice, moved everything back an hour, so we could give our final respects to Pat. A really, really good man.”
Freshman Blake Mazza is putting some heat on junior Cole Hedlund in the competition to see who will be the team’s No. 1 placekicker.
Mazza hit 5 of 5 field goal attempts, with a long of 36 yards, in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Hedlund sat out the scrimmage to rest a groin injury, but he returned to practice this week.
“Blake Mazza has had a nice camp,” Bret Bielema said. “So I’d say him and Cole are battling it out for the field goal job.”
Bielema said Mazza and sophomore Connor Limpert are competing for the kickoff job.
The Razorbacks are pushing patches this season. Their graduates have an “SEC Graduate” patch sewn onto the upper right of their jerseys. Team captains Austin Allen, Frank Ragnow, Santos Ramirez and Kevin Richardson have a capital “C” patch on the upper left.
“I love it,” Richardson said. “I mean, it’s like you don’t see that anywhere else but the NFL. I think Coach B is trying to make an emphasis that these are our guys we can rely on to provide leadership on and off the field.”
Allen was sporting both patches on his scrimmage jersey Saturday.
“The ‘C’ makes me feel like I’m wearing a hockey jersey,” Allen said. “This graduate patch, there was a lot of hard work to get this graduate patch, a lot of long hours.
“And it’s just an honor to be voted captain of this team. Having that means the world to me.”