FAYETTEVILLE — How fast can Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen’s injured shoulder heal?
The Razorbacks will find out this week if it’s fast enough for the sophomore to play at Rutgers.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was asked about Allen’s status for the Razorbacks’ first road game, but said he couldn’t provide any definitive answers. Instead, Bielema said it will rely on how quickly Allen can recover from the injury that knocked him out of Arkansas’ 24-3 win against Southern Miss.
“You know, it wasn’t anything structurally broke or anything like that,” Bielema said. “So, it’s really just a matter of how fast his body can heal. I know it’s a throwing arm issue. So, it’s not like you’re dealing with something of a normal player that … You’ve got to be full strength. You’ve got to be … I wouldn’t want to put him in harm’s way at all.”
Bielema indicated he doesn’t plan on answering the question this week, either as the Razorbacks (3-0) and Scarlet Knights (2-1).
He’s placing quarterbacks off limits to the media this week and Arkansas will continue to work behind closed practice doors. Bielema referenced a decision to keep his quarterbacks under wraps when his starter - John Stocco - was injured late in the 2006 season at Wisconsin. He also placed his quarterbacks off limits to the media that week.
“I’m just kind of going to play that same card,” Bielema said.
Backup AJ Derby will start against Rutgers if Allen is unavailable. The junior came off the bench to complete 4 of 6 passes for 36 yards against Southern Miss.
Derby was shaky when he entered the game and the Razorbacks took a conservative approach offensively, leaning on its ground game to go with a strong defensive effort. But Bielema said Arkansas would be comfortable opening things up more if it turns to Derby again on Saturday.
“To me, there’s a certain gamesmanship or element to, you know, you don’t have to show everything that you’ve got,” Bielema said. “Just kind of show the things that you need to.”