Razorbacks report :

Bielema: WR has options

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Jared Cornelius, Arkansas wide receiver, adjusts his helmet while warming up Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, before the Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Photo by Ben Goff
Jared Cornelius, Arkansas wide receiver, adjusts his helmet while warming up Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, before the Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks receiver Jared Cornelius underwent successful surgery on Monday to repair an injury to his left Achilles tendon, his mother said.

"Because we have faith, we know without a of shadow of a doubt that Jared will come back stronger than ever," Sylvia Cook Cornelius posted on a social media site, adding her thanks to fans for phone calls, text messages and prayers. "Surgery went GREAT!!!!!"

Cornelius suffered a noncontact injury on the first play of the second half of the Razorbacks' 50-43 loss in overtime to Texas A&M on Saturday.

"I visited with him and his mom a little bit earlier just to lay in front of them several options that exist," Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema said, without clarifying the details of the injury.

"Obviously he's a fourth-year player that has a redshirt year available," Bielema said. "I think we'll continue to make decisions as they come. No need to make any hurried ones now."

Cornelius received an evaluation from the NFL Draft advisory board last winter before deciding to return for his senior year.

Bielema said he would try to show Cornelius a number of different scenarios that might be available to him after his recovery, including the possibility of returning to Arkansas, getting another NFL evaluation or looking into the NFL supplemental draft.

Steamboat Hog

The offensive package with Cole Kelley as quarterback in the Shotgun, called the "Steamboat," and with Chase Hayden taking direct snaps, called the "WildHog," paid dividends for Arkansas against the Aggies with four first-down conversions by Kelley, plus a 2-yard play-action pass to David Williams, and several good runs from Hayden.

Kelley, called "The Franchise" by teammates, also picked up the nickname "the Louisiana Steamboat" after the Razorbacks' opener, coordinator Dan Enos said.

"He didn't like it, so we named it after that, as a coach would do," Enos said. "Find a name he doesn't like and call him that. Everybody calls him 'Steamboat' now, I think. I'm sure he's real happy I'm talking about this right now."

Curl coverage

Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads didn't directly criticize the pass interference call on freshman Kamren Curl on Texas A&M's incomplete third-and-8 pass in overtime. Curl was flagged against Jhamon Ausbon when Kellen Mond's pass fell a few feet short of the pair near the goal line.

"I have to go mute on that," Rhoads said when asked about the call.

Later, he was asked what he discussed with Curl about the play.

"If your guys are doing what they're supposed to do and doing it well, you just let them know that's exactly what they're doing and encourage them to keep doing it," Rhoads said.

Kick coverage

Arkansas' kick coverage unit had limited the dangerous Texas A&M return game led by Christian Kirk to 65 yards on four returns, an average of 16.2 yards per return before the Aggies broke through on Kirk's 100-yard touchdown return with 5:10 left in the game.

Texas A&M's average starting field position on its four returns had been its own 171/2 through three quarters of the game, and kickoff man Connor Limpert had added one touchback.

Cullen Gillaspie returned a short sky kick 14 yards to the Arkansas 49 after the Razorbacks answered Kirk's 100-yard return with a 75-yard march of their own to take a 43-40 lead with 3:39 remaining.

"Obviously we gave up the huge one at the end, but I believe the first four or five times, we had tackles inside the 15, tackles inside the 20," Bret Bielema said. "The plan was really good. Then that last one, we have a couple of guys didn't do the exact same thing that we did earlier."

Injury report

Nickel back Kevin Richardson should be a full participant for today's practice after he was limited to very few snaps against Texas A&M due to a high ankle sprain.

The Razorbacks used Josh Liddell at the nickel and played De'Andre Coley a significant number of reps at free safety.

Linebacker Grant Morgan was rolled up in practice last week and played sparingly against Texas A&M, Bielema said.

Gut punch

Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, speaking at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday, said he watched the Razorbacks' 50-43 overtime loss to Texas A&M.

Alvarez said the game was great for drama but tough on a coach like his former assistant Bret Bielema.

"Bret did a good job for me," Alvarez said. "He's a good football coach. I know [the SEC] is a tough league, but so is the Big Ten.

"I know in this business, it's what have you done for me lately? You have to win. It's simple as that. That's any league. That's the way this business is."

Alvarez said Bielema and his staff have to keep the Razorbacks focused this week.

"You don't want A&M to beat you twice," Alvarez said. "They beat you Saturday. You don't want them to have a hangover and lose again to a team that you shouldn't lose to the following week."

-- Sports reporter Jeremy Muck contributed to this report

Sports on 09/26/2017

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