Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for WholeHogSports.com. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Bordelon previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Springdale. He is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Football Writers Association of America, and was awarded 2022 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
'He plays so hard': Pool's effort, prep key strong play
Arkansas linebacker Bumper Pool celebrates following a play during the Razorbacks' 16-13 overtime win at LSU on Nov. 13, 2021 in Baton Rouge, La.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas linebacker Bumper Pool took the opportunity to tout the Razorbacks’ overtime win over LSU as he began his Monday morning interview on SEC Network.
As his video feed appeared on "SEC This Morning," Pool, crouched down a couple of feet behind the chair he would soon sit to speak in, was shown polishing the Arkansas portion of the Golden Boot trophy. He then turned around and grinned.
Pool, a senior, was deserving of the moment given his performance against the Tigers. He, along with fellow linebackers Grant Morgan and Hayden Henry, sparked a strong defensive effort that held LSU to its lowest point total in 2021.
“It means the world,” Pool said Saturday of beating the Tigers for Arkansas' seventh victory of the season. “I grew up a Hog fan, so I've watched this LSU-Arkansas rivalry my entire life. To be able to go out here and do it in Baton Rouge at night might have a story book."
The Lucas, Texas, native had a night to remember. He led all players with 13 tackles, including 6 solos, and tacked on 2 tackles for loss and 1 pass breakup.
The 13-tackle effort pushed him to 100 for the season in just 10 games, 21 more than Henry, who is second on the team in total stops. Pool finished with 101 tackles during Arkansas’ 10-game SEC-only schedule a year ago.
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman on Monday credited Pool’s play and production to great effort.
“He plays so hard,” Pittman said. “I think he’s the one that said it at the Catfish Hole (on Pittman's radio show) that because of Hayden and Grant that you’ve got to beat them to the football. That’s kind of what it looked like Saturday with the linebackers.”
Pool has totaled 10 or more tackles in 6 of Arkansas’ 10 games this season, and in the Razorbacks’ 7 games against ranked teams he has averaged 10.3 tackles.
Pool, who is No. 2 among all FBS defenders since 2019 with 295 tackles, is second on the Razorbacks with 7.5 tackles for loss, trailing only Henry. His two tackles behind the line of scrimmage at LSU was his second most in a game in his Arkansas career.
“I think after (Mississippi State), we almost let one slip,” Pool said. “We decided we were going to go to work. We knew how much this game meant.
“We were going to do everything we could to leave them with as little points as possible.”
With the Razorbacks halfway through their four-game November push, Pool is averaging 11.5 tackles per game this month. Saturday’s win marked the third time this season in which Pool has recorded back-to-back 10-plus tackle performances.
He did so twice in 2020, finishing with a combined 31 tackles against Georgia and Mississippi State, and 28 in a 1-1 stretch against Texas A&M and Tennessee.
“He was beat up a little bit last week on a Tuesday practice, or maybe it was Wednesday, came back Thursday and we didn’t know quite his status,” Pittman said. “But he went in there and played outstanding.
“I’m trying to get him to come back next year.”
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