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Arkansas coach Bret Bielema defends OL Travis Swanson

Earlier this week, Florida defensive lineman Damien Jacobs stirred up some controversy by saying he doesn't think Arkansas center Travis Swanson, one of the top center prospects in the nation, plays clean football.

Jacobs said, in part: "I just see, from film, a lot of stuff after the play, especially with the center, No. 64 (Swanson). He's a good athlete after the play. He makes you want to do something to him. We're gonna have to try to keep our temper and keep cool on that."

On Thursday, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who has said he expects Swanson's NFL draft stock to skyrocket this season, responded.

"I have not had one single complaint about anything we've played through these first five games. I'm not going to apologize for the way we play. I definitely encourage aggressive, tough behavior. Nothing cheap," Bielema said. "If anybody does anything, we'll handle that internally. They wouldn't play, they wouldn't start. I haven't had one official say one thing to me. I like the way Travis plays. He's an intense player. All of guys hopefully can play to that level, and I'm sure it'll be an interesting matchup."

Swanson is a preseason All-SEC pick at center, a senior who is a candidate for the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top center. Jacobs figures to play a more critical role this week against the Razorbacks in the absence of UF defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who was lost for the season to a knee injury more than a week ago.

Bielema, while defending Swanson, shrugged off the importance of the accusation.

"I'm an old defensive lineman. I always thought people were picking on me," he said. "It's just one of those things. We got people's attention, I guess."

Bielema, interestingly, indicated that players from the state of Florida "naturally talk" during games, suggesting that Arkansas players might be wise to hold their tongues and let their play speak for them.

Talking after the whistle is, indeed, commonplace in the Southeastern Conference. Blocking after the whistle, however, is less tolerated. Hence, look for some interesting after-the-whistle chatter between Swanson and Jacobs on Saturday, at the very least.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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