FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas will open SEC play on Saturday night in Baton Rouge and coming off a loss to BYU at home.
Both Arkansas and LSU will enter the game with 2-1 records. LSU fell to Florida State 45-24 to open the season. Arkansas was beaten 38-31 by BYU this past Saturday night. The Razorbacks haven't had Raheim "Rocket" Sanders since the season opener due to a knee injury. Sam Pittman was asked Monday if there is anything new on Sanders' status?
"No, I mean really no is the answer," Pittman said. "I don't know if he's going to be able to play or not. I tell you in all honesty it's probably too early to tell on that injury. We're going to have him out there a little bit today and kind of see where he's at. But to be honest with you the answer is probably no at this point. Not no he's not going to play, but no we just don't know."
In the 56-13 win over Western Carolina to open the season in Little Rock, Sanders had 15 carries for 42 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for four yards. In the games without Sanders, AJ Green has gotten the two starts. On Saturday night Green rushed nine times for 86 yards and two touchdowns. He raced 55 yards for a touchdown on Arkansas' first possession. He had three carries for 63 yards at that mark, but only carried six times the rest of the game.
"Yeah, I mean, I think we went into the game thinking we were going to use all three of them," Pittman said. "I think obviously if you feel like you have a hot hand you probably ought to use him a little bit more. Right now it seems like everything that we’re doing offensively seems hard. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything that’s coming easy to us.
"It’s … besides we did have some good completions and we had some long runs. We had more Saturday than we had in previous games. But yeah, I mean, I think we probably went in thinking he’d get double digits, maybe 12 or 13 reps and him coming out 9 might have been a little light for him."
The Hogs were heavily penalized Saturday night. The Hogs were penalized 14 times for 125 yards.
"It's hard to win any game when you have 14 penalties," Pittman said. "Obviously, I don't know if I'm going to get fined, I obviously didn't agree with all the calls and all that kind of stuff. Several of them. Hence, the problem. We had too many missed assignments, and we had too many penalties to beat a good football team. We have to figure out how to get the penalty situation... You're going to have some missed assignments in a game. I thought we had more than what we should have. But it's the penalties that are killing drives and keeping drives alive and things of that nature. We just have to get it corrected. To answer your question, we played extremely hard. The crowd was unbelievable. But, in a nutshell, if we took half the penalties away I think we would have won the game."
The Hogs did get some good news on two offensive tackles, both starters, who left the BYU game at different points with injuries. Pittman provided an update on the status of Andrew Chamblee and Patrick Kutas.
"They’re both fine," Pittman said. "Chamblee’s was a cramp. He cramped. And then Kutas was a back. But I think they’re both fine."
The status of tackle Devon Manuel isn't as clear. Manuel has been dealing wih a nagging injury all season. Pittman was asked if he might get him back this week?
"Man, I hope so," Pittman said. "I hope so. He just hasn't practiced well because he physically can't. I hope so going back to Louisiana as well. We need him. Obviously, we had practiced Brady out there a couple times, and he was the next best option we had. Just unfortunate when he had to move out there and all that, but he did as good of a job as he could do and he was the right guy to move out there. It's just we need Dev back."
The Hogs and LSU will kickoff at 6 p.m. on ESPN Saturday night. The Texas A&M game will be at 11 a.m. in Arlington on Saturday, Sept. 30. It will air either on ESPN or the SEC Network.
Photos Courtesy of Craven Whitlow CW3 Sports Action