Matt Jones is the editor of the Hawgs Sports Network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has a bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.
Pittman: Jefferson back in practice Wednesday
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) carries the ball during a game against Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson participated in practice Wednesday — his first practice this week.
During his radio show at the Catfish Hole following practice, Arkansas coach Sam Pittman indicated Jefferson's availability for Saturday's game at No. 23 Mississippi State will be a game-time decision.
"I don't know what that means, to be perfectly honest with you," Pittman said of Jefferson practicing Wednesday. "He still has a ways to go on that. We're certainly not going to play him unless he's capable and healthy and all those type things. We're going to take him on the trip, whether he plays or not. We've got a few more days to figure that out."
Speaking on the SEC Coaches Teleconference earlier Wednesday, Pittman said his general rule is that players who do not practice by Wednesday will not play in that week’s game.
The exact nature of Jefferson’s injury is unknown, but Pittman previously said the second-year starting quarterback hit his head during the fourth quarter of a 49-26 loss to Alabama last week. During a weekly news conference Monday, Pittman did not confirm whether Jefferson was in concussion protocols.
Pittman said there is a “real possibility” the Razorbacks will use two quarterbacks Saturday if Jefferson is unable to play. Cade Fortin, a transfer from South Florida, replaced Jefferson against Alabama, and Malik Hornsby also has experience playing in SEC games.
“We would go with a hot hand,” Pittman said. “In our game plan, there’s certainly opportunities for both of those kids to play if KJ can’t.”
Pittman said Jefferson attended both practices he did not participate in this week, and has gone through all of the meetings this week with his teammates.
Jefferson, a redshirt junior from Sardis, Miss., has a 12-8 career record as the Razorbacks’ starting quarterback. He has completed 66.1% of his passes for 1,096 yards and 9 touchdowns this season, and has rushed for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns.
CORRECTION: Jefferson has a 12-8 career record as a starter, which includes a game at LSU in 2019 when he was injured in the first half.
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