FAYETTEVILLE — Linebacker Bumper Pool has battled injuries all season, but still managed to have a very productive season.
Pool is second on the Razorbacks with 92 tackles, including 37 solo. He also has 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three pass breakups and five quarterback hurries. Pool is now the all-time leading tackler at Arkansas as he passed Tony Bua earlier this season. Pool has 441 career tackles at Arkansas, but will he get the opportunity to make another one? Sam Pittman was asked Monday what Pool’s injury is that has hampered him all season?
“Well, I can give you a list,” Pittman said. “Two hips, a back, he’s beat up. And I’m telling you right now, about five weeks ago I thought he was done. We shut him down at practice and some things. He’s beat up, man. But he’s a trooper and I don’t know how much further he can go, to be honest with you. And I think with us getting bowl eligible, it could or could not be his last game. I don’t know.”
Pittman was asked if he’s holding out hope for Pool to play in the bowl game which is approximately five weeks away?
“Not a lot,” Pittman said. “No, not a lot of hope there. I don’t know for sure, but no. I mean, he’s beat up.”
If Pool isn’t able to go he will be replaced by redshirt freshman Chris “Pooh” Paul Jr. Paul has 41 tackles, including 26 solo, seven for loss, four sacks, two quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and one recovered. Pittman talked about feeling comfortable starting Paul.
“Man, well, he’s actually played the same or even a little bit more than Bumper has, just because we know Bump’s not full-speed healthy,” Pittman said. “Every game he seems to get a little more confidence. He played well against Ole Miss, ran around, did some nice things. So we have confidence in him. That moves [Jordan] Crook up another spot too, as well, to get him in the game and let him play a little bit more. I think we’ll be fine there if Bump’s not able to play.”
Pittman talked more about Paul’s season overall and not just the Ole Miss game.
“When we recruited him, and obviously you miss some when you recruit,” Pittman said. “Either way. You don’t … Quincey McAdoo, who would say he’s going to be our starting corner, you know? We recruited him at wide receiver. But Pooh, when we recruited him we thought he was gonna be a real good linebacker and he’s turned out to be that. I think he’s going to be an exceptional linebacker over the years for us. He’s got everything. He’s fast, physical, smart. And he’s playing that way now.”
The other linebacker is Drew Sanders who leads the squad with 96 tackles. Sanders, who was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Ole Miss, has 37 solo, 12.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, one interception, three pass breakups, six quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery and three forced ones.
Arkansas and Missouri will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. on Friday in Columbia. The game will be televised on CBS. The Razorbacks haven’t won at Missouri since the Tigers joined the SEC.