Arkansas defensive end Trey Flowers was named Southeastern Conference defensive lineman of the week Monday.
Flowers was recognized by the conference after recording three tackles for losses, two sacks and a forced fumble in the 34-14 win against Louisiana-Lafayette last Saturday. He led an Arkansas defense that held ULL to 274 yards, collected four sacks and forced two turnovers in the win.
“The thing about Trey is that he reminds me of my man (former Wisconsin and current Houston Texans defensive end) J.J. Watt in that he gets stronger as the game goes on just because he goes so much harder than everybody else,” Bielema said. “There toward the end, he was just kind of having his way with people. And that is what I think you will see show up more than ever.”
Flowers’ biggest moment came two plays after Arkansas committed its only turnover. Louisiana-Lafayette had the ball near midfield and trailed 20-7, but Flowers helped the Razorbacks protect the lead.
He beat ULL’s left tackle, hit quarterback Terrance Broadway and stripped the football. Linebacker Austin Jones recovered the ball and the Razorbacks marched downfield to score a touchdown, opening up a 20-point lead.
Arkansas named Flowers the team’s defensive player of the week for his efforts.
“He consistently was around the quarterback making plays,” Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash said. “He was doing a great job in the run game with his gap and playing the quarterback on some zone reads. He really stood out to me.”
Two key players suffered injuries during the season opener, but Bielema was optimistic both will be available for Saturday’s game against Samford.
Running back Jonathan Williams suffered a shoulder stinger in the first half, but returned after the break to finish with a game-high 151 rushing yards.
“He’s a little bit sore, but it shouldn’t be an issue moving forward,” Bielema said.
Safety Rohan Gaines left in the fourth quarter after his left leg whipped into teammate Darius Philon. The knee injury will keep Gaines out early this week.
“We hope to get him back midweek and hope to have him repping and practicing and to be ready for Saturday,” Bielema said.
New father Mitchel
Arkansas cornerback Tevin Mitchel had seven tackles Saturday, equaling linebacker Jarrett Lake for the team lead against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Bielema said he was really impressed by the junior’s performance because of another reason: Mitchel became a father Friday.
Bielema said Mitchel was not with the team Friday, but did rejoin them late that night as they prepared for the opener. Bielema said Mitchel was smiling “ear-to-ear.”
“To play the way that he did, to me, says a lot about him,” Bielema said. “I know he’s a guy that’s got a lot of talent. In the past he might’ve been up and down. Really, there was just one point in fall camp where he and I had a discussion about, hey, you’ve got to handle this better than that because he had been Mr. Consistent.”
Bielema believes center Travis Swanson will thrive in Arkansas’ offense this season and the senior didn’t disappoint in the opener. In fact, Swanson even surprised Bielema by recording 16 knockdown blocks. Bielema described the number as “absolutely insane.” … Freshmen WR Melvinson Hartfield and S Korliss Marshall did not play Saturday, although Bielema said both were “prepared.” Bielema said the timing wasn’t right and both still could “get involved in some special teams.” … Bielema said Arkansas will dedicate the first 15 to 20 minutes of individual drills in practice this week to correcting mistakes. “If we’re tight ends and we couldn’t block the D-ends on a certain play, I want to see that in your individual work,” Bielema said. “If you’re a running back that had loose ball security, I want to see an emphasis on that.” … S Davyon McKinney wasn’t with the team for the ULL win. Bielema said McKinney’s grandfather died last week and the funeral was held Saturday.
Arkansas selects its MVPs
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said the Razorbacks will announce most valuable player awards on a weekly basis this season. Here’s the list of MVPs from last week, which concluded with a 34-14 win against Louisiana-Lafayette:
Offense — FB Kiero Small (4 carries, 7 yards; 3 catches, 25 yards, TD; Played 50 snaps); C Travis Swanson (16 knockdown blocks)
Defense — DE Trey Flowers (3 tackles for losses, 2 sacks, forced fumble)
Special teams — PK Zack Hocker (2-for-2 on FGs, 3-for-3 PAT; 5 Touchbacks)
Offensive scout team — FB Chris Jones
Defensive scout team — LB Jerry Mitchell
Special teams scout team — DB Dakota Baggett