Marvin Gentry/USA Today

Bret Bielema said Wednesday night's Arkansas meeting was shut down with Thanksgiving thoughts

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema asked his seniors to speak on Thanksgiving at a Wednesday meeting. The emotions flowed to a point that the meeting ended 10 minutes early.

Bret Bielema meets with his team late in the week, usually on Thursday night. He has a few topics related to the game, but always adds a "big picture" moment that is not football related. He talked about that meeting Wednesday night during his weekly radio show at the Catfish Hole.

That weekly meeting took place Wednesday night this week, with the game with Missouri a day earlier, at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"I brought up Thanksgiving and what they might be thankful for," Bielema said. "A lot of them talked about their teammates and some of the memories of what they've been through together. By the time they were done, I couldn't finish the meeting. We shut it down 10 minutes early."

Bielema, asked what made him thankful, told the Catfish Hole crowd that being the head coach of the Razorbacks "made him thankful, to coach these seniors, and I'm not meant it to be a crowd favorite. These guys have had two or three head coaches and several position coaches and been through a lot. It's what has shaped them."

The forecast is for rain on Friday, but that shouldn't be a problem for the Hogs. They've prepared for rainy games almost every week.

"We've practiced in the rain and we have prepared with a wet football week after week," he said. "Our players don't mind. They will embrace it and hug it up."

Bielema opened the show talking about the near miss against Mississippi State and the field goal that was blocked at the end of the game.

"Our offense played extremely well," he said. "Our defense, we had a shutout in the third quarter, but not so good at other times. We did put together a great drive at the end of the game and we could not get the chip shot to win the game.

"We ended today's practice just like we've ended every Thursday practice with a May day field goal drill. We talk about it every week, is he going to make it? And, he did again today with an easy make. We worked on our protection issues. Unfortunately, we didn't win the game last week and we tried to turn the page."

Bielema was asked about the play of his star tight ends, Hunter Henry and Jeremy Sprinkle.

"I've been at places where we've had one tight end who was decent," Bielema said. "The defense knows how to cover up one, but with two it's hard. You can move them from side to side and make it tough on a defense."

In talking about radio guest Jeremy Sprinkle, Bielema said, "It' so unique. The tight end can be such a nightmare. When I was a defensive coordinator, they caused such problems and heacaches. You flex Jeremy or Hunter out and get them on a short corner, it's a real problem right there."

Bielema gave away a bit of code. He said the play that Brandon Allen scored on a two-point pass is called "the annexation of Puerto Rico. Why, I don't know. But it is. We had it in and were going to sue it earlier in the game. As we were marching for the touchdown, the card said we'd go for two. I asked Dan Enos is he was thinking about annexation, and he was."


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