Razorbacks Report:

Austin Allen says 100 percent for last game

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen looks to throw a pass during a game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen looks to throw a pass during a game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen said last week his injured right shoulder was "close" to 100 percent. This week, he's bumped up the recovery percentage.

"100 percent, I guess," he said. "It better be 100 percent on Friday. It's my last go-around, and you know, obviously trying to come back from that kind of injury, you really just kind of need rest with it.

"But no rest in that 10-game stretch we had. It's 100 percent and I'm ready to go."

The Razorbacks (4-7, 1-6 SEC) host Missouri (6-5, 3-4) at 1 p.m. on Friday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Allen missed four games with the injury but amped up his rehab while freshman Cole Kelley was going 2-2 as the starter from Oct. 14 through Nov. 4.

Kelley is back from a one-game suspension this week after his arrest for suspicion of DWI on Nov. 12.

Allen was asked Tuesday if this has been a stressful year.

"I'd qualify it as a lot of things," he said. "Stressful may be one of them. But overall probably not the way I thought it was going to go. Not the way I envisioned it. You kind of have a plan in your mind, first game of the year and how things are going to go out for us.

"Things didn't happen. But you know you've got to put that behind you and you've got to bounce back. You've got one more opportunity to make a name for yourself and make a name for your team."

K-Rich kudos

Senior captain Kevin Richardson said the Razorbacks are "playing for Coach B" in reference to embattled Coach Bret Bielema.

"He's done some great things for us. ... All of us seniors, and myself specifically, he let me in and do what a lot of people didn't think I could do," said Richardson, a walk-on from Jacksonville whom Bielema gave a scholarship a couple of years ago.

"I came up here and lived the dream that I've had since I started playing Pee-Wee football. For him to give me an opportunity means a lot to me."

Said fellow senior defensive back Henre Toliver, "He went from a walk-on to a captain. That's a tremendous accomplishment for K-Rich. He's proven a lot of people wrong. Big ol' kudos to K-Rich."

Frankly speaking

Center Frank Ragnow underwent season-ending left ankle surgery after being injured against Auburn on Oct. 21, but he has received an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 27 in Mobile, Ala.

Ragnow said Tuesday he's not sure if he'll play in the game.

"The recovery time is kind of right around that three-month window, so we'll just see how I'm feeling," he said. "More than likely I won't be able to play, but we'll see how it is."

Ragnow, who gets around on a medical scooter during his recovery, will take part in the pregame coin toss before Saturday's game against Missouri as a team captain. He's been at the coin toss for the past two home games.

"I miss the game and everything, but the thing that hurts the most is you just miss the feeling of being a part of the team," Ragnow said. "There's something special about the camaraderie of the game of football, whether it's talking about how a coach was just ripping you or it's going through meetings, eating dinner and everything like that.

"There's so much bonding that goes on and you really miss that because you're kind of away from the team. Being able to do the coin flip -- not only being there during the game but being there during the pregame where I can interact with the guys -- that's been huge for me."

Tough guy

First-year defensive line coach John Scott Jr. said he's adopted a motto of "Tough times don't last. Tough people do," which is often repeated by his 71-year-old father.

"It's been a tough year, obviously, because you want more wins than you have losses," Scott said. "I think in seasons like this, you find out a lot about what kind of character kid you have and you find out a lot about yourself as a coach.

"Sometimes you do your best coaching jobs when the wins and losses don't come the way you want them to. ... You still have to find a way to motivate your kids and keep them engaged and playing as hard as they can play."

Scott said the biggest thing he's loved about this year's team is the players' "unbelievable character."

"They play hard for us. They fight," he said. "That locker room that we had last week [following the loss to Mississippi State] was probably one of the most emotional locker rooms I've seen ... for kids who are hurting because they wanted it that bad. As a coach you just feel sick, because you want those kids to taste success. It's been tough in that regard. All you can do is keep on pushing."

Going 100

Sophomore linebacker De'Jon Harris pushed his tackle total to 101 with eight stops against Mississippi State on Saturday.

Harris owns the team lead by 11 over junior linebacker Dre Greenlaw, who has 92 after a team-high 10 tackles against the Bulldogs.

The Razorbacks will have a leading tackler with more than 100 stops for the third time in the past four seasons.

Missouri backs

Missouri is averaging 195.2 rushing yards per game, including 242.4 during its five-game winning streak. Senior Ish Witter, a 5-10, 195-pounder, is averaging 103 yards the past five games.

"[Witter] is a really shifty player," Arkansas defensive line coach John Scott Jr. said. "He'll drop on a dime, and he'll make guys miss. He's a smaller guy in stature, but he doesn't play small. I think that makes him tough."

Freshman Larry Rountree is averaging 59.5 rushing yards, but 89.9 the last five games.

"He has really good balance," Scott said. "We'll have to do a great job tackling him. I think he's a talented back as well."

Damarea Crockett, a sophomore from Little Rock, rushed for 481 yards in Missouri's first six games before being sidelined by a shoulder injury that required surgery. He has returned to practice on a limited basis, but won't play Friday.

Sports on 11/22/2017

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