Arkansas coach Bret Bielema knows crowd noise will be a factor on Saturday at South Carolina, but he doesn’t think it will negatively affect the Razorbacks’ quarterback-center battery.
“We’ll play it up with our offensive guys. They’ll be indoors all week, get the crowd noise going and get everything that we do for SEC road games,” Bielema said. “The good news is we’ve got a center and quarterback who are in charge of communication really who have played a lot of football.”
Quarterback Austin Allen and center Frank Ragnow have started together for 29 of Arkansas’ last 30 games.
“Offensively, you feel good about that,” Bielema said. “But we’ve got to get the other linemen in check; we’ve got to get our wide receivers in check.”
Through four games this season, Allen has completed 58 percent of his passes for 766 yards with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. His rating of 145.65 is 43rd best in the country and only a couple of points higher than South Carolina QB Jake Bentley.
Bielema thinks the Gamecocks have a “very talented” sophomore quarterback.
“He’s obviously a coach’s son,” Bielema said. “He’s been around it. He gets football. He knows two plus two equals four. He knows where to go with the football. If he sees something, he knows where to go with it, a very intelligent player.
“I think he gets better when the game gets tighter.”
Junior tight end Hayden Hurst also drew a glowing response.
“We actually [practiced for] South Carolina in the spring and then, of course, in fall camp, heavy. We knew that the quarterback was going to be a big part of it,” Bielema said. “And then when [Deebo Samuel] got hurt, you knew that was going to affect their offense.
“I love tight end play and when I saw [Hurst] play the way he does, he’s a guy that you admire and respect the way he plays the game and the way they use him. He’s a very, very important part of their football program. You can tell that.”
Bielema said he’s “always been good” with South Carolina coach Will Muschamp since he took over at Arkansas in December of 2012.
“I knew him beforehand, and I admire and respect what they do defensively,” Bielema said. “They are a little bit unique.”