FAYETTEVILLE — While the SEC honored Arkansas junior right guard Frank Ragnow as its SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week, Ragnow was far from the only Razorback that Arkansas coach Bret Bielema cited for his performance in the Razorbacks’ 42-3 rout of Texas State last Saturday night in Fayetteville.
Senior left offensive tackle Dan Skipper and senior tight end Jeremy Sprinkle actually were Arkansas’ offensive MVPs in Bielema’s view. he coach also cited Ragnow, junior quarterback Austin Allen and running back Rawleigh Williams.
Senior defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter was Bielema’s defensive MVP with senior middle linebacker Brooks Ellis and senior cornerback Jared Collins earning high praise.
Reserve safety Reid Miller was Bielema’s Special Teams Player of the Week but kickoff man Connor Limpert, senior punter Toby Baker and freshman backup punter Blake Johnson were praised, too.
Another varsity player, junior backup nose guard Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado, also was Bielema honored though not for his sharing a sack of TSU quarterback Tyler Jones.
When not taking his regular varsity reps, Jackson, Arkansas’ heaviest D-lineman at 335, literally provided big competition during the week for Razorbacks centers Jake Raulerson and Zach Rogers.
"Last week a guy that played a lot of snaps for us in our game, Bijhon Jackson was actually the Scout Team Player of the Week," Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith said."He split time down on both ends. We rotate some guys that get reps with our group and get reps to help put on the scout team for our offense. I am sure we will continue to do that this week."
Raulerson and Rogers split the center spot with Ragnow moved from center to right guard and are prepped to split center again in the 17th-ranked, 3-0 Razorbacks’ SEC opener against the 10th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies, 3-0 overall and 1-1 in the SEC, Saturday night.
The ESPN televised kickoff is 8 p.m. at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Bielema and offensive line coach Kurt Anderson not only opened center between Raulerson and Rogers but opened right offensive tackle split against Texas State between redshirt freshman Colton Jackson of Conway, the starter for all three games, and third-year sophomore Brian Wallace.
All four should be primed for practice, offensive coach Dan Enos said going into Tuesday’s practice in pads.
"The good news about that is the more guys that play in the game, the more guys will be juiced for practice on Tuesday afternoon," Enos said. "Because they know they’ve got a chance to play. I think that’s a really good formula for us. There’s obviously things we need to do better, but I thought they played with tremendous effort and tried to play with toughness and physicality."
What Bijhon Jackson gave preparing Raulerson and Rogers last week, Robb Smith said sophomore Randy Ramsey might give preparing Arkansas’ offensive tackles and tight ends preparing for A&M pass-rushing bookends Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall.
Garrett was first-team All-American in 2015 and the consensus seems that Hall looms just as effective from the other end.
So Ramsey, the elusive pass-rushing defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid, ought to give the Hogs at least a glimpse of what A&M presents.
"They have two perimeter rushers that are as good as anybody in the country," Bielema said. "There defensive ends are long. They’re athletic, what I call fast twitch."
Quarterbacks and running backs find them hard to escape, and tackles and tight ends find them hard to pinpoint and block."They’re kinda those spider guys always moving away from you," Bielema said.