Hogs’ Kel­ley sus­pended af­ter ar­rest

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - OTIS KIRK

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).

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/Ben Goff

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.

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