Arkansas Razorbacks cornerback Kaelon Kelleybrew (23) remains doubtful for Arkansas upcoming game verses Auburn. Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Fayetteville, Ark. – Arkansas Razorback head coach John L. Smith addressed the media Monday after practice updating the injury status of several players; some good news to report and some still waiting for possible good news.
On Saturday Sept. 29 the Hogs were short several players when they lost in a one-sided Texas A&M victory 58-10. The Razorbacks took the field without starting tight end Chris Gragg, and starting safety Eric Bennett in addition to the early season injuries to corner Tevin Mitchell, and fullbacks Kiero Small and Kody Walker but the compilation of injured players continued before game’s end.
Senior running back Dennis Johnson was limited to five carries for 22 yards with one catch for 12 yards while playing with a broken bone in his hand. Johnson is scheduled to continue playing this week when Arkansas travels to Auburn. The rest is up to offensive coordinator Paul Petrino to better involve him in the offense.
While Small and Walker are out for the year the return of corner Tevin Mitchell is still a possibility. Mitchell has not been cleared to play but he has resumed cardio work while recovering from gallbladder surgery performed days after his helmet-to-helmet collision with teammate Alonzo Highsmith in the UL-Monroe game.
The only question centered upon Mitchell’s return is will it be best for the player to medical redshirt or return to the field of play? Time will tell what the best decision may be when he is officially cleared.
Arkansas was already down a few players in the secondary but the football gods have taken no mercy on the Razorbacks thinning numbers. Eric Bennett (leg) missed the Aggies game and is still not cleared to play or practice and now two more players are banged up.
Freshman safety Rohan Gaines was slow to get up against A&M but is expected to play against the Tigers Saturday. Now senior cornerback Kaelon Kelleybrew has concussion like symptoms after making an open field tackle on Saturday. Kelleybrew will continue to be evaluated but as the growing concern to protect football players with concussions escalates chances are he will not dress out verses Auburn.
Senior tight end Chris Gragg is one of the biggest offensive weapons the Razorbacks have on the field when healthy. Without Gragg senior wide receiver Cobi Hamilton has exploded catching 21 passes in two games. Hamilton had 11 receptions on Saturday with the next highest total coming from Brandon Mitchell, four catches for 33 yards.
The Razorbacks (1-4, 0-2) look to end their four-game losing streak while picking up their first conference victory of the 2012 college football season this weekend against (1-3, 0-2) Auburn.