Hogs: QB Austin Allen preps for possible start at Mizzou w/Peavy, Duwop & Derby as backups

Hogs: QB Austin Allen preps for possible start at Mizzou w/Peavy, Duwop & Derby as backups

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FAYETTEVILLE - As Brandon Allen and AJ Derby rehab from injuries, Austin Allen practices as Arkansas' starting quarterback. Currently redshirting freshman Rafe Peavey may be Austin's backup when the Razorbacks close their SEC season Friday at No. 17 Missouri.

Arkansas (6-5, 2-5) and the SEC East-leading Missouri Tigers (9-2, 6-1) kick off at 1:30 p.m. Friday on national CBS TV at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo.

Two-year starting fourth-year junior QB Brandon Allen injured his hip with the Hogs up 17-0 during the first half against Ole Miss. He returned to watch his brother, second-year freshman backup QB Austin Allen, the remainder of the 30-0 victory.

Meanwhile, AJ Derby, now an NFL prospect tight end but last year's backup QB, sat the second half against Ole Miss with a bruised knee.

"Everybody knows that B.A. and AJ left the game." Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said Monday. "Both those guys have a chance. Don't know how much or how little or anything at this point. They are going to commit to rehab as best as they possibly can and we'll see where that goes."

Austin Allen preps to start while Bielema anguishes about burning  Peavey's redshirt year should a backup be required.

"Obviously with only a game and a bowl game to play, you don't want to do it," Bielema said of activating Peavey. "But if it's necessary, it's necessary and I think he knows that. AJ Derby, if he's back, can obviously play for us at quarterback. And there's a couple of other guys on our roster that have played in that role in high school."

Second-year freshman Damon "Duwop" Mitchell was recruited as a QB from Egg Harbor, N.J., and practiced at QB as a redshirting freshman before moving to receiver last spring.

"Duwop will be in the mix, possibly," Bielema said Monday.  "He fell out of favor a couple of weeks ago, just got caught in a situation that I handled internally and wasn't anything more than just not being at the right spot at the right time for academics and being on time for a team function. It would be a great way to interact with him this week."

Bielema was asked if Brandon Allen's experience could enable him to start without any practice should he be deemed physically fit by Friday.

"You would certainly like for him to throw the ball around. If there's a guy that could get away with a minimal amount of practice time, it would be B.A.," Bielema said. "We all know B.A. is a tough player but his hip is very sore."

After a redshirt year and four brief appearances earlier this season, Austin Allen earned high marks for his first extensive game on the line performance last Saturday. Other than one fumbled snap, Austin Allen milked the clock and completed three of five passes against Ole Miss for 65 yards, including a 33-yard strike to wide receiver Keon Hatcher.

"I don't think anybody had any anxiety about Austin Allen walking in that huddle that was out there with him," Bielema said. "He was a very calm, cool, collected, very confident, very assured. Even where there's maybe some bumps in the road, he handled everything marvelously."

Bielema was asked his opinion of veteran coach Gary Pinkel's defending SEC East champion Tigers and their quarterback, Maty Mauk.

"I think their quarterback is just fun to watch," Bielema said. "He's a winner that makes a lot of plays with his legs, extends plays. Their wide receivers are very opportunistic. They have a running back slash special teams returner guy, No. 6 (Marcus Murphy) that is as dangerous as we've faced. He's incredible. Defensively, I love their defensive ends" (Markus Golden and Shane Ray.).

Bielema announced Monday the individual awards bequeathed for standout performances after a victory.

Running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins were his Co-Offensive MVP's with offensive tackle Dan Skipper honorable mention.

Strong safety Rohan Gaines' 100-yard interception touchdown return merited Bielema's honorable mention. Four seniors: end Trey Flowers, linebacker Martrell Spaight, nickel back Tevin Mitchel and free safety Alan Turner of Junction City were Bielema's Co-Defensive MVPs. 

Senior punter Sam Irwin-Hill was Bielema's special teams MVP with holder Matt Emrich of El Dorado and special teams all-rounder Alex Voelzke honorable mention.

Defensive end Deatrich Wise, withheld from the Ole Miss game because of an injury, should practice today and play against Missouri, Bielema said.

Monday normally is Arkansas' mandated off day but with the Friday game short week the Hogs practiced Monday night.


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