Students assembled after an email was sent earlier in the day. They responded wearing their Razorback red, calling the Hogs several times as players headed through the stadium towards the locker room.
"We were very surprised," said Alonzo Highsmith, senior linebacker and team captain. "Oh, yeah, it shocked me."
Defensive coordinator Paul Haynes said it was a welcome sight after practice, but he wasn't surprised.
"Hog Nation is strong," he said. "We have to put a better team on the field. But we know to expect that from Hog Nation."
Highsmith surprised teammates with a message in the weight room earlier in the week. He said he suggested that the schedule board -- with magnets for each team -- be cleaned to show only Rutgers. That was after players discussed that the only thing that was important this week was Rutgers in team meetings.
"I came into the weight room yesterday and saw the board," he said, "and I was talking to Coach (Jason) Veltkamp about it. I said what if we took everything off except Rutgers because nothing else matters.
"It was kind of like a metaphor. Nothing that's happened before this week matters and nothing after it matters. It's only about this week. That's our focus."
Veltkamp reacted quickly. He began to take some of the magnets of other teams off the board.
"It was up there pretty high, so I got a stick and raked some of them down to help," Highsmith said. "I had thought about that when I saw the board. Coach Veltkamp thought it was a great idea. It's just about concentrating on this week right now. Nothing matters except right now."
Highsmith said the entire team was in the middle of its weight lifting workout.
"I think they were puzzled at first," Highsmith said. "Then they began to shake their heads in agreement."
Haynes said preparations for Rutgers have been excellent all week. He said it started with heavy attendance at video study sessions.
"I gauge a lot on how many guys are watching video," he said. "On Sunday, the room was packed, and on Monday, too. The last two days there have been guys in there, too, in between classes. It's been great so far."
Haynes said true freshman Will Hines is working with the first unit at cornerback, but he said it's too early to name him a starter for the Rutgers game.
"It's not decided," he said. "We are trying to find the best guy right now who can cover and tackle. We'll continue to mix it up to find that guy, but right now he's with the ones."
Haynes said Hines brings an aggressive nature to the field.
"He's aggressive and he has cover ability," Haynes said. "We can do a lot of things with him because of that aggressiveness. You can blitz him. He's getting better and he's getting more confidence. As he gains confidence, the sky is the limit with him."
Haynes was asked how the conversion is going with Nate Holmes moving from running back to corner.
"Nate is doing a good job," Haynes said. "We just needed to get some guys who can help the defense. He has speed. He's raw, but he has the speed so he can cover up things. He's happy with the move."
Tyler Wilson was dressed out for practice. John L. Smith said earlier in the day that Wilson is still not cleared to play against Rutgers, but players seemed encouraged.
"Oh, yeah, we are glad to have him back," said linebacker Ross Rasner, who quickly added that he didn't know if Wilson could play this week.
Haynes said true freshmen linebackers Otha Peters and A. J. Turner continue to get more work behind Highsmith and Tenarius Wright.
"They've gotten a little more this week," he said. "It will depend on how the game goes, but maybe (they'll play more this week)."