Bret Bielema declines to name starting QB ahead of LSU for 'strategic advantage'
As Arkansas prepares for its game this week at LSU, coach Bret Bielema is keeping his starting quarterback choice close to the vest as Cole Kelley recovers from a turf toe injury, and Austin Allen looks to get back on the field following a shoulder injury.
Kelley was stepped on, which caused the turf toe, but shouldn’t miss any practice time, while Allen missed the last four games.
Allen practiced last week and was expected to play against Coastal Carolina. The coaching staff even told him as much. But Bielema said he wanted to keep the flow of the offense intact, so Allen didn’t make it in the game.
“We told Austin we’d get him in the game,” Bielema said at his weekly press conference. “There probably was not a better guy on the sidelines from working with Cole. Austin stepped in when maybe we had a drop and he talked to the guys about making plays. His leadership skills and his desire to win. I think kids in those situations would maybe turn the other way, or not be engaged in the game. No one is pulling more for Austin to play more than Cole and vice versa.”
Bielema again reiterated something he mentioned on Saturday: Don’t expect him to name a starting quarterback until game day.
“We have two quarterbacks that have started and done a nice job,” he said.
Saturday will also be a reunion for Bielema and LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who coached with Bielema in 2012 at Wisconsin. Bielema called it a positive relationship.
“You see a lot of the things on film that maybe on the outside looking in, there’s a lot going on, but the way he calls it, and the way he says it is very simplistic and gets a lot of players involved and plays to their strength,” said Bielema, who called it a positive relationship. “He’s very good at playing to the players’ strengths.”