Tuesday Grid Update, 11/25

It may be a rivalry game down the line, but for Arkansas players the trip to Missouri is all about becoming more attractive as a bowl team. Here's the Tuesday practice update.

One of the best Trey Flowers quotes from the last four seasons had to do with the hunger level that Arkansas should bring to the table. It was a challenge made in August camp ahead of his junior season. Flowers wanted his teammates to play with the hunger of a stray dog.

So the question for Flowers after the Hogs have earned back-to-back shutouts of ranked SEC teams, are the Hogs still hungry as they head to Missouri?

"We can't be full yet," Flowers said after practice Tuesday night. "We've got a lot of work to do with two more games and two more chances to earn some respect. We are going to keep on eating."

Arkansas has become bowl eligible with victories over LSU and Ole Miss, but Flowers said it's no time to change the mindset.

"Another win means a better bowl game," Flowers said. "It's about getting a better situation for our post-season. We can't stop (at six victories)."

The Hogs would have a chance to knock Missouri out of the SEC title game with a victory at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Columbia.

"We understand what they got going with (Missouri) and Georgia," Flowers said."But it's more about us and what we can do. We want another win for Razorback country."

That was the thought from junior running back Jonathan Williams, a one-time Missouri commitment.

"It's a cool opportunity for us, help us to a better bowl," Williams said. "We are not trying to ruin their season. It's more that we are trying to make our season with a third straight victory."

And, it isn't about showing Missouri about what they didn't get in the recruiting battle.

"I was committed to them," Williams said. "Arkansas was just closer to home. I wanted to play in the SEC. At the time when I was committed, Missouri was in the Big 12 and was playing teams in Texas. But I changed my mind and wanted to play in the SEC."

Williams said it's just another SEC game and that's all it takes to get him pumped.

"Every SEC game is important and it's going to be a good team," he said. "We take pride in our schedule and this is another very good team. There are no gimmes. Every team is tough, every team is ranked. That's all we know, playing ranked opponents."

Williams joined Flowers in the excitement of playing another big game on the day after Thanksgiving.

"I've got a lot to be thankful about," Flowers said. "I feel blessed to get another opportunity to play for Arkansas, knowing that there is also going to be a bowl game. I'm thankful for my family and I'm thankful that Arkansas gave me a chance."

Williams said he felt similar thoughts on Thanksgiving. He knows that running backs have to be blessed to make it to the end of an SEC season.

"I've had good health," said Williams, who has 1,013 yards through 10 games.

"It's a grind and I'm thankful that I've avoided serious injuries. I feel great and I'm happy to get one more chance to play. I probably haven't really thought much about going over 1,000 yards. Maybe after the season I can reflect on what I've done. I do know that a mark like that is a team thing. I've done it because of great blocking by an offensive line and with blocking from the wide receivers."

There has been no definitive word on the availability of quarterback Brandon Allen, injured against Ole Miss. Younger brother Austin Allen finished the game. There were questions concerning the confidence of the team with Austin under center.

"Austin is a great quarterback," said Keon Hatcher, the top Arkansas wide receiver. "All of our quarterbacks have been great in practice."

How would Hatcher compare the brothers?

"Outside of football, I think Austin is more energetic," Hatcher said. "That's the main difference. But they throw a lot alike. They look alike. They are really alike in a lot of ways."

There was little talk of the Missouri-Arkansas game turning into a rivalry, as it's being billed in some circles.

"It might could be one at some point," Hatcher said. "It just feels good to play a big game. I might tell you something different after the game. We just want to go up there and put our best foot forward.

"We just want to get a victory for ourselves and get a better bowl game."

Because of the short work week and Monday afternoon and evening class schedules, the Hogs practiced at 10:30 p.m. Monday night.

"I thought it was energetic and it might have been our best practice of the year," Hatcher said.

Williams said, "It was late, but I don't think anyone cared. I think we look at it as just part of the grind and we are used to grinding. We did well."

Linebacker Martrell Spaight said it's just a matter of adding more solid practices to what the Hogs have done of late.

“We’ve been very strong mentally," Spaight said. "These past few weeks have been the best practices I’ve had since being at Arkansas. There’s been a lot of communication and you can see the effort out there by everybody: special teams, offense and defense. It just seems like a whole new team.”

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