FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has a huge game on Saturday against Mississippi State in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The Hogs and Bulldogs are both 5-3 on the season though Mississippi State has had more success in the SEC. They are 3-2 while Arkansas is 1-3.
Sam Pittman provided some updates on four players this week. Quarterback KJ Jefferson had played the last two games dealing a nagging injury to his knee. But given the fact he only played the first half against UAPB and then the bye week he has bounced back in practice this week according to Sam Pittman
“I’ll tell you this, Monday was as good a day as he’s had,” Pittman said. “Really in the 9-on-9 part of it, he really stepped up around the rush game and made some great throws. On Sunday, in the two-minute drill he made a nice throw for a touchdown. I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence.”
In eight games this season, Jefferson has completed 110 of 178 passes for 1,657 yards, 15 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He has rushed 81 times for 419 yards and five touchdowns. His rushing yardage is second on the team behind only running back Trelon Smith.
Jefferson’s favorite target has been junior wide receiver Treylon Burks. He has caught 42 passes for 717 yards and seven touchdowns while also rushing six times for 71 yards and a touchdown. Burks has battled a nagging foot injury, but Pittman thinks the rest helped him.
“I do,” Pittman said. “I mean, I think he’s looked really good. We’re still limiting some of his reps to this point. He basically didn’t do anything the week before. You talk about injuries and sometimes I address them, sometimes I don’t. There’s a lot of different reasons for that – opponents, I don’t want to hurt the kid in the draft, there’s a lot of reasons that you don’t comment on injuries. However, I think he’s back healthy now and ready to go. I think he’ll be just fine.”
Junior tight end Trey Knox was injured in the Ole Miss game and been limited since then. But it appears he will be able to make a contribution this weekend. He has caught five passes for 37 yards and one touchdown. Pittman is hoping he can give the team what he did in Oxford.
“Yeah, absolutely that’s the expectations,” Pittman said. “Again, that week off between Pine Bluff and certainly Mississippi State I think that helped him as well. We were slow to roll him in there on Sunday, but I thought he looked pretty good like you just spoke of. I think he’ll be ready to go.”
It appears the wide receiver group will get a heavy dose of new speed with true freshman Bryce Stephens likely going to play. He got in against UAPB and returned a punt 27 yards. Pittman plans on using him in the passing game.
“I think Bryce is a little bit as a freshman coming on,” Pittman said. “He’s starting to understand the offense. He’s starting to play a little bit faster. I don’t think he’s where he is going to be because I still think he’s thinking too much out there. ‘What do I do? Is this right?’ You know, playing a little bit slower than he’s going to. But I’ve been pleased with him. We’ve got some different little things in for him that he’s looked good doing this week. He’s definitely the No. 2 slot at this point.”
Arkansas will hit the practice fields again today.