By Otis Kirk
FAYETTEVILLE — Linebacker Bumper Pool may have played his final game at Arkansas.
The talented linebacker from Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy will leave Arkansas as the leading tackler to ever play for the Hogs. He has 441 career tackles at Arkansas and broke Tony Bua’s record earlier this season. However, Pool has fought injuries all season making it hard and painful for him to play. Sam Pittman said Monday that Pool may be finished at Arkansas when asked about specific injuries hampering the linebacker.
“Well, I can give you a list,” Pittman said. “Two hips, a back, he’s beat up. And I’m telling you right now, about five weeks ago I thought he was done. We shut him down at practice and some things. He’s beat up, man. But he’s a trooper and I don’t know how much further he can go, to be honest with you. And I think with us getting bowl eligible, it could or could not be his last game. I don’t know.”
Pittman was asked if he’s holding out hope for Pool to play in the bowl game which is approximately five weeks away?
“Not a lot,” Pittman said. “No, not a lot of hope there. I don’t know for sure, but no. I mean, he’s beat up.”
Despite playing hurt much of the season, Pool is second on the Razorbacks with 92 tackles, including 37 solo. He also has 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three pass breakups and five quarterback hurries.
If Pool isn’t able to go he will be replaced by redshirt freshman Chris “Pooh” Paul Jr. Paul has 41 tackles, including 26 solo, seven for loss, four sacks, two quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and one recovered. Pittman talked about feeling comfortable starting Paul.
“Man, well, he’s actually played the same or even a little bit more than Bumper has, just because we know Bump’s not full-speed healthy,” Pittman said. “Every game he seems to get a little more confidence. He played well against Ole Miss, ran around, did some nice things. So we have confidence in him. That moves [Jordan] Crook up another spot too, as well, to get him in the game and let him play a little bit more. I think we’ll be fine there if Bump’s not able to play.”
Pittman talked more about Paul’s season overall and not just the Ole Miss game.
“When we recruited him, and obviously you miss some when you recruit,” Pittman said. “Either way. You don’t … Quincey McAdoo, who would say he’s going to be our starting corner, you know? We recruited him at wide receiver. But Pooh, when we recruited him we thought he was gonna be a real good linebacker and he’s turned out to be that. I think he’s going to be an exceptional linebacker over the years for us. He’s got everything. He’s fast, physical, smart. And he’s playing that way now.”
Arkansas and Missouri will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. on Friday in Columbia. The game will be televised on CBS. The Razorbacks haven’t won at Missouri since the Tigers joined the SEC.