COVID Numbers Not Better For Arkansas, Still Have Three Tests This Week, Catalon To Miss First Half

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FAYETTEVILLE — Fans hoping to see Jalen Catalon play the first half and more Razorbacks playing who missed last week’s game are likely to be disappointed this week.

Sam Pittman updated the status for the team and clarified it isn’t the school’s decision if they play or not.

“The SEC makes it,” Pittman said. “We tell them who we have exactly to the number. We tell them how many we have at quarterback, how many we have at O-line, how many we have at D-line and how many we have as a total scholarship number and then they make the decision on whether we’re going to play the game or not.”

Pittman also asked if the numbers as far as COVID were improving this week?

“No, our numbers are no better than what they were Saturday,” Pittman said. “Obviously we have three tests this week. So no, they’re not any better than what they were.”

Is there a way they can test negative two or three times this week and get back?

“Well, yes they can,” Pittman said. “But the ones that have already been in positive covid, have tested positively more than one time. So it would be today’s results and then we’d able to test again tomorrow and the next day and possibly get them back out. But that hasn’t worked out very well here. The tests have been very accurate, so to think that’s going to happen, probably it won’t. Because the past says that it hasn’t.

“There’s so much going on, man. I mean, with the tests, with injuries, concussions, there’s so much going on. Can we get a guy or two back? Sure. I think the timeline has been that we could possibly get 1-2 guys back. But then you’ve got to look into injuries, yesterday’s test and all those things. Certainly our numbers aren’t any better than what they were Saturday.”

Redshirt freshman safety Jalen Catalon was ejected in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against LSU for targeting. Pittman explained why he will have to sit the first half against Missouri and no appeal was possible.

“No, you can’t review those,” Pittman said. “Once it goes under review if you have the appropriate amount of tape for their reviewing then whatever their call is then it stands. And you can’t petition that. You just live with it. That’s what we were told. So he will be out for the first half of the Missouri game and  – you know video review should be able to get those calls correct. And so that was the feeling of video review that they had ample time to make the correct call on the field.”

True freshman Myles Slusher replaced Catalon and could get the start this week.

“Well, you have to get somebody else ready and he has to be ready, as well,” Pittman said. “Obviously we’re just going to play Slusher and (Myles) Mason and whomever that we normally would. I think Slush went in for him the other day. So just knowing that he won’t be able to play in the first half, we’ll get them ready. Really not a whole lot of difference than what we normally do.”

It was a controversial call by most people’s opinion. How is Catalon handling it?

“I called him on Saturday night, or texted with him, and texted back and forth,” Pittman said. “He’s fine. I sought him out in the locker room after the game, because, you know, I think in his mind he did 100 percent everything correct on the play. So that’s got to be hard, when you’re trying to do the right thing and you’re ejected out of the game, especially at that critical time and you miss the first half of another game. It’s got to be very difficult on him. We just want him to know we support him in every possible way that we can.”

Arkansas and Missouri are set to kickoff at 11 a.m. on the SEC Network Saturday in Columbia.

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