Hogs Get Boost From Guest Speakers

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas' coaches and players got some motivational words from two unlikely sources last week, when an NFL all-pro quarterback and legendary college football coach made separate appearances in the Broyles Center.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and former Arkansas and South Carolina coach Lou Holtz spiced up the Razorbacks long offseason by spending time with coaches and players on Monday and Thursday, respectively.

McNabb and his mother were in town shooting a Campbell's Chunky Soup commercial, which was set up by Wal-Mart. The commercial was filmed in the locker room and former Hogs C.J. McLain and Dexter Howard were used as extras.

McNabb, who recently led the Eagles to the Super Bowl, spoke with the team for 30 minutes after the commercial was completed. Arkansas cornerbacks coach Bobby Allen said McNabb's message centered around the importance of earning his degree and the work ethic required to succeed in the NFL.

"He did a great job for our players," Allen said. "The way we see if somebody's got their attention is by watching everyone's heads. He moved one way, everyone's head moved that way. So he had everyone's attention. It really meant a lot to them."

McNabb also talked about former Philadelphia teammates and Hogs Quinton Caver and Bobbie Williams. McNabb has grown close to mammoth teammate Shawn Andrews and referred to the former Arkansas right tackle as "tons of fun."

"It was a nice talk," said defensive tackle Marcus Harrison. "He had just come off the Super Bowl. He told us he's not cocky, but he has high confidence in himself. He guaranteed to himself they were going to return to the Super Bowl next year."

In the meantime, Holtz accepted coach Houston Nutt's invitation to talk football with the Arkansas staff and invigorated the coaches during Thursday's five-hour meeting.

Nutt said the meeting came about after he flipped through old notebooks and noticed items from Holtz, who worked at Arkansas from 1977-83. He invited him to spend a day in Fayetteville with the Arkansas staff and Holtz agreed.

Nutt said Holtz energized the staff after discussing his coaching philosophies, beliefs and reasons for success at every stop in his career.

"I said, ‘Coach I want you to talk to us like we were walking into your staff room for the first day,'" Nutt said. "We just talked football. I wanted him to go over things he believes in, how he won at Notre Dame, Arkansas, Minnesota. It was from A to Z.

"It reconfirmed some things you believe in and excites you and motivates you."

Nutt, who played for and coached with Holtz at Arkansas, said Holtz was "in awe" when he toured the Razorbacks' facilities. But Allen said the Arkansas coaching staff had similar feelings when Holtz spent the entire day with them.

"It was a joy to hear him talk," Allen said. "To hear his passion about the game, his belief system, his philosophy about how he does things, it just kind of re-confirmed things that you're doing. You've been around, but it's like going to a great lecture.

"It makes you think about things you might have been taking for granted a little bit. He kind of energized the whole staff a little bit."

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