Spirits were running high at the press conference following Arkansas’ 45 to 23 victory over Kansas State in Saturday’s Liberty Bowl. That much was evident from a question that normally wouldn’t elicit anything close to humor.
A few minutes in, reporters asked about the health of Razorback junior Dominique Reed, who suffered a head injury in the second quarter which looked very scary. The Camden native was immobilized and carted off the field.
Bret Bielema: I probably was a little bit oblivious, because when I went out there he was moving his arms, he was moving around. But he got knocked out, he was as out as out gets. That part was there. They just did an unbelievable job of precautions, in that situation didn’t get the right responses.
But he was in the locker room with us. He’s got a heckuva headache probably but he’s alive and well.
[He was] walking, talking – he smiled, he smiled at me. [pause, grins] Sometimes Dominique gives you a delayed response anyway so you just kind of got to get used to it.
Here are more excerpts from the press conference:
On new “Chrome Cardinal” helmets
Alex Collins: I just believe it gives you an extra edge. You know, look good, play good. We were out there feeling good, everybody’s watching, we got this chrome – it’s just a good feeling. I like it. I wish we could’ve done it a few more times this season.
Bret Bielema: I actually designed a helmet with that kind of color back when I was at my old school. When I left to come to Arkansas, and they didn’t let me coach in the Rose Bowl I took the helmet with me. [grins] So that design had been there for a while.
Sebastian Tretola: I was a little nervous about the helmets because the last time we tried tried to change up the uniform we lost three games so… [grins]
But, you know, it worked out. We won the game. They were awesome obviously and [pause] swagggyyy?
[looks at Bielema, laughing]
On Dan Enos:
Bret Bielema: He’s been an unbelievable godsend. He so well organized, detailed, planned. His relationship skills – it just makes it more fun environment and I’ve ever endured as a coach…
There’s kind of an ongoing saga. Every day then Skipper finds a new picture of Dan Enos on the Internet that kind of just makes him look worse and worse. And every day Matt, just really angry with his little glasses on. I saw one clear back from the high school days just the other day.
And then he tries to retaliate on the o-line. I don’t know how to stay neutral out of the whole thing.
He brings a lot to the table that has nothing to do with winning games, and he brings a lot to the table that has to do with winning games. He’s just so dialed in. Once him and BA got comfortable with what his skill set is, what he could handle and what he could do over the course of the game it’s been a skyrocket ship. It’s been off the charts.
Alex Collins on this touchdown run:
I was very determined. We wanted to put the game away and us scoring on that drive was what kind of put us over. Just seeing everybody’s faces and determination on that play made me feel like I had to to do my part and get this touchdown. I just fought hard to score for the team.
What Alex Collins has meant to the team
Brandon Allen: Alex ran hard all day. You’ve got to give credit to the guys who were blocking for him… He was breaking tackles, never going down, just really running hard on every single play. He really carried us in the second half and is definitely deserving of that [offensive] MVP.
Sebastian Tretola: The kid is unbelievable. He runs angry, he runs mad, the legs never stop and that and I think that adds to our mentality. The o-linemen keep going. Even if you miss your block, he might make that guy miss, so you better keep running because you might help him 20, 30 yards down the field.
Josh Liddell: As these guys said, watching Alex Collins run is unbelievable. As defensive guys we see him running out there, breaking tackles in fighting for every extra yard. That just fires us up and gets us pumped up and ready to play and play defense. It’s really fun to watch Alex run.
Alex: I feel honored. If you asked me the same thing, I would say the same thing about those guys. I would say those guys had a great game. I don’t like taking credit for anything because without the other 10 guys on the field I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything.
The o-line did a great job blocking for me, the tight ends as well, so I don’t take credit for anything. The seniors did a good job of motivating us and getting us ready to go. Sebastian does a great job every game…
Brett Bielema: Alex is playing as good a football as he’s ever played since being here. It’s been a steady crescendo in our program, and that’s what you should do. You should get better every day, every week, every year.
The part of his game that’s really improved this year is his overall toughness, his durability. I think Brandon Allen and some of the offensive players would tell you he’s really put it on the line a couple times for them in the pass protection which sometimes running backs don’t do.
He really drew closer to our team this year. He’s a really bright, engaging young man. This year he really took more of an ownership in the team than he ever had before, and it’s been awesome. He comes back with us next year, you’re probably looking at a Heisman candidate.
He could go down as not only one of the best players in Arkansas history but could be the first player in the SEC to run for at least 1000 yards and four straight years. If he goes on, the NFL’s gonna get a very good football player with a lot of growth and opportunity in front of him. I’m just blessed to have three years with him already.
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