Hogs’ Kelley suspended after arrest
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema announced on Monday that quarterback Cole Kelley has been indefinitely suspended from the program for his arrest early Sunday morning for suspicion of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving.
Kelley came off the bench Saturday against LSU after starting the previous four contests. Austin Allen, injured in the South Carolina game Oct. 7, returned this past week and got the start against LSU.
“Depending on the information out of there, he’s been pretty honest and up-front with me all the way through,” Bielema said. “Obviously there’s court proceedings going on, so I won’t comment about the specifics, other than he’s very disappointed. We were disappointed. It’s a learning lesson that I hope he takes full advantage of, as well as our team.
“You know when it happened on Sunday morning, my first reflection is ‘Is he safe? Is there anybody else involved and is everybody safe in the entire incident?’ That was … positive but obviously something could come very, very negative out of those situations. So an awareness factor there for our guys.”
Bielema noted that Kelley, a redshirt freshman, has certain things expected of him as a Razorback quarterback.
“The part I think he has to understand is not only to be an Arkansas Razorback but to be a quarterback and start games here is a very, very big deal,” Bielema said. “Social media and everything else around it. He’s going to be held to a higher standard. The blessing that you give can also be your biggest burden. He’s going to have to do a lot of growing up in a short amount of time.
“I’ve had conversations with his parents and we’re all on board moving forward. For however long the suspension, through this week for sure, through Saturday, I think he’s got to understand what life can be like without football. And also address all the other issues. If he does all that we’ll kind of address it at that point moving forward.”
Kelley attended meetings Sunday though that will be the extent of him being involved in football this week.
“It was all just coming so fast,” Bielema said. “We started our meetings and I wanted to keep him — I kind of wanted him to face everybody to be quite honest. It would have been easy to throw him out of the building yesterday, but I wanted him to have to be around, have to answer questions. From this point, we made this decision after talking … I didn’t get a chance to talk to his mom until early this
morning. So he won’t be involved in anything here in the building this week.”
Despite his suspension, Kelley will still be allowed to recieve medical treatment for his turf-toe injury.
“When we remove anybody, you know we commonly do that, sometimes you guys know about it, sometimes you don’t know about it, sometimes kids are redshirted so it doesn’t become a story,” Bielema said. “But we never take away three things: We never take away academics or academic support, we never take away medical support or anything that goes into that, and also the services that we provide for them here in the building.”
With Kelley out, sophomore Ty Storey has been elevated to the backup spot behind Allen.
“He got a lot of reps last week,” Bielema said. “Cole, like I said, got limited reps on Wednesday, so Ty got all the reps on Tuesday, half the reps on Wednesday and then took all the reps with the twos on Thursday. Had a package for him that if Cole wasn’t able to go, he was going to take over that look. Ty has a lot of talent. He’s an engaged football player. Probably no better with a football IQ or understanding of our offense.
“Dan (Enos, offensive coordinator) and I both discussed that if there is a way to get him involved in the game, we’d like to do that. Just to keep his spirit going. But in big-picture thinking, like I told Ty and Cole at the beginning of the year and then when we made the decision to go with Cole … obviously when Austin got hurt … no matter what happened during the course of the season with Cole and Ty when we got to the spring it was going to be an open battle. I told those guys back then they both have tremendous upside and got a great deal to do. Cole got some valuable experience, there’s no doubt. But going into spring drills, those guys will be in a open competition.”
Bielema was unable to meet with Kelley until after Sunday’s team meeting.
“He was very quiet,” Bielema said. “One of the few times I’ve seen Cole quiet. He’s going to handle it the right way, I think. He agreed to all the terms that I laid out in front of him. When you’re in these positions, I think the biggest thing is you have to take it and run and learn. Sometimes when you’re
19 and 20 you don’t feel like you’ve got to hear these lessons and I want to make sure that they absorb it and learn.”
Despite the situation, Bielema anticipates that Kelley can bounce back from this incident.
“Cole has a very bright future,” he said. “This shouldn’t be the definition of his career. This should be one of those moments that shows who he is. I encouraged him to take the next opportunity and the rest of the opportunities that lay in front of him over the next three years to define what his reaction is to this moment. These things pop up. Like I said, fortunately they haven’t popped up in our program, but it is what it is. We have to address it and move forward.”
Arkansas (4-6, 1-5) hosts Mississippi State (7-3,
3-3) on Saturday at 11 a.m. The game will be televised on CBS (Resort Channel 11).
NO ESCAPE: Redshirt freshman Arkansas quarterback Cole Kelley (15) evades LSU defensive end Rashard Lawrence in the fourth quarter Saturday at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. Kelley, who was arrested Sunday morning on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving, has been indefinitely suspended from the team by head coach Bret Bielema.