Arkansas got another big outing from its tight ends Saturday.

Arkansas got another big outing from its tight ends Saturday.


Sophomore Hunter Henry and A.J. Derby combined to catch eight passes for 137 yards and a touchdown in the 45-32 loss to Georgia. The production came a week after the duo combined to catch seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown against Alabama.


Coach Bret Bielema credited tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. for the success.


"There’s no surprise to me why his dad wins all those games and has been such a great coach over the course of time," Bielema said, referring to Bentonville High coach Barry Lunney. "He has taught his son how to be one heck of a ball coach. … He’s got a plan for each one of those kids every day. I see it on paper. He writes it down. It’s just awesome. There’s no secret to why those guys have gotten better."


Henry (16 catches, 221 yards, two touchdowns) and Derby (15 catches, 228 yards, three touchdowns) enter Saturday’s game against Alabama-Birmingham ranked second and third, respectively, on the team in receiving. They got off to a slow start this season, but have become Arkansas’ most dependable receivers in SEC play.


Henry turned in his best performance of the season against the Bulldogs, catching five passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. It included his longest reception of the season, a 38-yarder that helped set up a fourth-quarter touchdown.


"He had a little bit of taste for that game and probably played as good a game as he’s played since he’s been here," Bielema said. "That involves catching the football, blocking, being engaged in the gameplan and fighting his heart out."


Derby, meanwhile, followed up his 54-yard touchdown catch against Alabama by catching four passes for 45 yards last Saturday. It included a one-handed grab on a third-and-6 play in the first half that helped the Hogs move the chains.


"A.J. Derby has played tight end for seven games," Bielema said. "Every NFL scout that comes in asks about him, and is going to be rewarded."


Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said the Razorbacks were able to enjoy some success over the middle of the field with the tight ends in the second half because of Georgia’s coverages. Improved pass protection helped, too. But Chaney said the fact both are talented has been key to their success the past two weeks.


"They have a lot of ability, and they love to play the game, and they’re doing a nice job with it," Chaney said. "Barry does a wonderful job getting them ready to play every week, and they’re going out and performing at a high level right now. And that’s a good thing."


Special concerns


Arkansas may have a new place kicker and punter against Alabama-Birmingham.


Bielema said Saturday that Adam McFain, who kicked the final two extra points against Georgia, has replaced senior John Henson as Arkansas’ place kicker. Henson has had two extra points blocked the past two weeks and is 2 for 4 on field goals.


"We obviously had a little penetration on that first one, but Adam McFain gets the kick up so quickly that he’s going to handle the kicking duties until I see something different to take him out of that role," Bielema said.


In addition, Bielema said he’ll consider replacing Sam Irwin-Hill with sophomore Toby Baker for punting duties. Irwin-Hill struggled against Georgia, averaging just 33 yards on his three attempts. He’s averaging 40.4 yards a punt this season.


"Toby Baker is going to be our punter on Saturday unless I see something change on Sam," Bielema said. "We had three punts that we need to be able to — and he can easily do it. Sam is a tremendous kid that I love to be around on a daily basis. But I’m also a bottom-line results guy and he’s capable of hitting the ball better. So he will or Toby Baker will definitely have his shot come Saturday."


Personnel update


Bielema said cornerback Henre’ Toliver, who left with an injury last Saturday, should be available when the Razorbacks return to practice. But linebacker Brooks Ellis, who missed the loss with a bruised knee, remains questionable this week.


"I don’t know if we’ll have him for Saturday, if not we’ll go with the same plan we had last week," Bielema said. "If he’s able to go obviously we will bring him into it."


Arkansas knows it will be without running back Korliss Marshall once again. The sophomore has been suspended for unspecified off-the-field reasons and Bielema said last Saturday he will miss three or four weeks. Marshall’s extended absence has moved Kody Walker and Denzell Evans up the running back depth chart.


"Korliss is a talented young man. We’d love to have him with us, but he’s not," Chaney said. "So Kody steps right in. He’s played a lot of football. He understands what our goals and objectives are. And he goes out and gets done what he needs to get done."


Extra points


• Arkansas struggled against Georgia, but there was a silver-lining: the Razorbacks ended their fourth-quarter scoring drought. Arkansas got in the end zone twice on Allen’s 4-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kendrick Edwards and Alex Collins’ 6-yard touchdown run. The points were Arkansas’ first in the fourth quarter against an SEC opponent in six games. "That’s a good thing," Chaney said. "I wish it had been in a victory. I guess that’s the next thing. So we’ll continue down that path."


• Bielema said he is awaiting an explanation from the SEC about the chop block penalty called on tackle Dan Skipper in the second half. "What he ended up doing is, he’s blocking the back side defensive end and it’s a toss play away and he’s blocking him like we do 100 times every time in every game and he dropped low and cut him," Bielema said. "I want a clarification on why that was called."


• Kickoff time and broadcast information for Arkansas-Mississippi State and Ole Miss-Auburn games on Nov. 1 are still being determined. The SEC announced one game will be played at 6 p.m. on ESPN and the other at 6:15 p.m. on ESPN2.