Univerity of Arkansas sophomore wide receiver Cobi Hamilton and his Razorbacks teammates took a beating at Auburn on Saturday – literally and figuratively.
But Hamilton – who took a lot of those body shots returning 8 of the Tigers' 10 kickoffs – said his team knew right after the 65-43 humbling what it has to do to finish off the season.
"First of all, I think everybody knows that we want to win out," Hamilton said. "That's what our main goal is and has been every since we lost the game. When we walked off the field, everybody knew it was time for us to win out."
Arkansas (4-2, 1-2) will start that task on Saturday morning when it hosts Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2) in a 11:21 a.m. game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
One thing the Razorbacks are working hard on this week in practice is shoring up their special teams.
Auburn had a whopping 44.2 average on its five kickoff returns while Arkansas managed just 17.9 on its returns.
"We changed the personnel around today with a couple of people changing spots," Hamilton said.
Hamilton and fellow wideouts Joe Adams and Lance Ray got the work as the deep guy during Tuesday's practice.
But those three – filling in for injured school record holder Dennis Johnson – need some lanes to run through and have not been getting that room.
"It's not for lack of athletic ability, it's just taking pride and going out there and doing it," Hamilton said. "We need play makers and starters and people who want to be on there….You've got to have people who want to go out there and make a difference on special teams."
Hamilton shared what the view of a kick returner is when he hauls in the ball and looks up.
"I see people running full speed 40 miles an hour at me," Hamilton said. "…I was very sore when I woke up on Sunday."
Hamilton had 172 yards in return yardage, but 32 of that was on one kick return that looked like he might break.
"On that one, I told them before it came that ‘we gotta go,'" Hamilton said. "I said just give me a chance and Freddy Burton said ‘just follow me.' He did a good job of cleaning things up."
Hamilton had 2 catches for 18 yards on a day when back-up Tyler Wilson came in for an injured Ryan Mallett and had a career day.
Wilson connected on 14 of his first 15 attempts and ended the day 25-of-34 passing for 332 yards and 4 touchdowns.
"That was a pretty amazing day by Tyler," Hamilton said. "I have been working with him with the twos since I have been here so I have always had confidence in Tyler.
"…I have all the faith in Tyler and (third-teamer) Brandon (Mitchell)," Hamilton added. "If they threw Brandon out there I think we would all have the same encouragement and the same pride as Ryan."
Hamilton noted that Mallett looked good at practice on Tuesday.
"Mallett was good, his normal self, running the ball real fast, throwing it hard and being accurate," Hamilton said. "Every thing looked good for Ryan. I think he will be the man this week and we will be behind him 100 percent."
Hamilton has 12 catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns this season, but his roommate Ronnie Wingo – a running back - has 19 catches for 219 yards and 4 scores.
"He is always making jokes that ‘I've got more catches than you, I've got more touchdowns, but that is what we need – somebody in the SEC who came come out of the backfield and make catches," Hamilton said. "Not a lot of teams have that, someone who can outrun linebackers and use his hands real good away from the line of scrimmage."
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