Hogs' Flowers receives SEC honor; Bielema praises Swanson, Small, Hocker
FAYETTEVILLE - Already honored by his coach as Arkansas' Defensive MVP of the Game, Arkansas junior defensive end Trey Flowers was honored Monday as the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week by the Southeastern Conference.
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"Our defensive MVP running away was Trey Flowers," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema told Monday's press conference before the SEC Players of the Week announcements. "He just blew us away with his pass-rush ability. The thing about Trey is he just gets stronger and stronger as the game goes on."
Although not honored by the SEC, Bielema said senior center Travis Swanson, called Arkansas' Co-Offensive MVP's with senior fullback Kiero Small, was Bielema's choice for SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week.
"Travis Swanson, just again blew me away," Bielema said. "He had 16 knockdowns. As a center, that's an impressive number. I am sure they have to spread it (SEC Players of the Week awards) around but I can be biased because they are mine."
On Sunday, running backs coach Joel Thomas lauded Small's blocking role in running backs Alex Collins (21 carries for 131 yards) and Jonathan Williams (18 totes for a game-leading 151 yards).
"I had him at seven either cuts or knockdowns where he was putting somebody on the ground," Thomas said.
Small also had a 10-yard touchdown catch, powering down the sideline, and he converted two first downs on four carries.
"Kiero Small had over 50 snaps and played a very valuable role not just on offense but on special teams," Bielema said. "That touchdown run on the catch he turned into a touchdown was just a big-time play."
Senior kicker Zach Hocker was Bielema's MVP for special teams.
As team MVP "honorable mentions," Bielema cited running backs Collins and Williams, sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen (15 of 22 for 230 yards and three TDs and no turnovers), sophomore right offensive tackle Grady Ollison of Malvern and senior receiver Javontee Herndon, three catches for 73 yards with TDs of 6 and 49 yards.
Senior defensive tackle Robert Thomas and senior middle linebacker Austin Jones merited defensive honorable mention, Bielema said.
With Hocker, not kicking in the fourth quarter because of an aggravated sore groin muscle, deemed "feeling good" Sunday by kickers coach Charlie Partridge, sophomore strong safety Rohan Gaines (knee) seems the only Razorback from the ULL game with iffy status going into Arkansas' 6 p.m. Saturday game against Samford at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
"We hope to get him back midweek and to be ready for Saturday," Bielema said. "Everybody else is OK."
Junior Alan Turner of Junction City, a free safety most of preseason, subbed at strong safety against ULL when Gaines moved to nickel back, then played strong safety once Gaines exited.
Turner likely would start against Samford if Gaines can't, Bielema confirmed.
"Yeah, I think so," Bielema said. "It was only seven days that moved A.T. to that position. He did a good job. I think those two guys (senior free safety Eric Bennett and Turner) together formed a little bit of a relationship that would be a good combo."
Third-year sophomore safety Davyon "Sleepy" McKinney of Forrest City was unavailable vs. ULL because of his grandfather's death. "The funeral was Saturday so Sleep wasn't with us," Bielema said. "But he has been a guy in camp that has been very exciting. Hopefully we're going to see him get an expanded role."
Samford of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division 1-AA, the division below Division 1 now called the Football Bowl Subdivision) defeated FBS school Georgia State 31-21 Saturday at Georgia State.
Kansas State and Oregon State were among eight FBS teams upended by FCS upstarts last weekend.