FAYETTEVILLE — Quarterback KJ Jefferson struggled some on Saturday along with the remainder of the team in a 21-19 loss to Liberty.

Jefferson completed 23 of 37 passes for 284 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Jefferson rushed 16 times for 36 yards as well. He had some nagging injuries last week and didn’t throw much in practice. Sam Pittman was asked about Jefferson’s health on Monday.

“I think he feels better this week than he did last week,” Pittman said. “So I expect him to be able to throw today, and if that’s the case, I feel like he’ll be fine by Saturday. You know I answered the question the other night about talking to Kendal (Briles) about KJ.

“That question was more in reference of ‘What was his health?’ Not necessarily he’s not playing well or we’re going to take him out. It was about is he healthy enough to play and the answer was yes. So there was never really a thought of pulling him out because of performance. It was about whether he was healthy or not. And obviously he ended up playing the last quarter or so well. He got back in the groove a little bit. But I just wanted to clear that up. Because it wasn’t about taking him out about performance, it was ‘Is he healthy enough?’”

Pittman talked about Jefferson’s shoulder and if that is the area giving the redshirt junior the most issues.

“Yeah, it’s really in the clavicle area,” Pittman said. “It’s bruised. It’s hard for him to throw the ball without some type of pain. Like I say, he’s much better than what he was last week. So hopefully we’ll get a good week of practice out of him and go from there.”

Pittman was asked if Malik Hornsby would have been a better option considering Jefferson’s struggles at times?

“I don’t think so,” Pittman said. “I guess you can look at it after the game. The difference is, y’all and the public and all that, you’ve got postgame to sit down and go, ‘Maybe this should have happened? Maybe that should have happened?’ You’re making real time decisions, you know … I think it is true if you don’t practice the entirety of the practice each day and each week, you’ve not going to play as well. I think that’s been proven over the test of time. 

“But at the same time, when KJ said he was ready and he wanted to go, I don’t know, I believe that most people would say, ‘OK, let’s go.’ I know I did. But there’s always concern when a guy doesn’t practice all the time. He practiced every day. But not wasn’t like a full practice of throwing the ball all the time and those things.”

Jefferson has now thrown three interceptions on the season and two have bounced off the tight end’s hands into those of a defender. Pittman explained what happened on one of Jefferson’s interceptions Saturday.

“Well, we had two receivers too close,” Pittman said. “When the ball was in the air, the only guys that could catch it was us. We ended up tipping it to them. I thought [Trey Knox] responded really well. He made a couple of really nice catches, touchdowns, off of it after that. That was one that could have pulled us within seven. It just didn’t happen. But I’m not for sure part of it wasn’t … we had two receivers too close. It was a mistake on a route. He just didn’t catch it.”

Myles Slusher, Anthony Brown Suspended

As expected following their early Sunday morning arrest, defensive backs Myles Slusher and Anthony Brown have been suspended by Pittman.

“Yeah, we’ve suspended them for at least one week,” Pittman said. “They’ve got a.m. runs. They’ve done one this morning and they’ll both participate in practice on the scout team. It’s unfortunate, but it’s not acceptable. Part of our job is to teach these kids and hopefully we’ll get that done.”

Pittman was asked if Jayden Johnson might slide in at the nickel to start for Slusher?

“He can,” Pittman said. “I mean, he would certainly be one of them. (Malik) Chavis might be another option to go back to safety and you might move (Simeon) Blair back to nickel. I don’t know. With the emergence of Quincey (McAdoo), that kind of buys us another play, another option to move around.”

Pittman was asked how he heard about the arrests?

“Hunter Yurachek called me and told me,” Pittman said. “I had not seen it. We talked about what we’ve done in the past with disciplinary actions, and then we call the kids in and talked to them.”

Arkansas and LSU will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday and be televised on ESPN.