Meyer Fails To Include Hogs

FAYETTEVILLE--Random thoughts while wondering if it's really going to snow two to four inches today:

A few weeks ago, Florida football coach Urban Meyer, while discussing the superior strength of the Southeastern Conference, listed Tennessee, Georgia, LSU and Auburn among those SEC teams that seemed to be above the others defensively. He left out Arkansas, perhaps in an oversight, perhaps because Florida hadn't played the Razorbacks this season or perhaps because he didn't regard them as equals to the above four in physical strength and depth defensively. While it's true that Arkansas has given up right at 300 yards per game, the Hogs have played well enough on defense that their second-year defensive coordinator, Reggie Herring, has been named a finalist for the Broyles Award. One wonders if Herring might use Meyer's slight of Arkansas' defense, perceived or real, as motivation when the Hogs meet Florida at 5 p.m. Saturday. Walker Interested In UA Chris Walker, a highly sought 6-foot-3, 220-pound linebacker for Christian Brothers High in Memphis, Tenn., includes Arkansas on his list of college favorites, along with Tennessee, Alabama, LSU and Clemson. Walker, a personable sort who makes good grades, has played some at tight end also but projects as a prototypical linebacker in college. Walker said in talking with Herring, he realized that he's just the type of speedy, physical linebacker Herring likes. Jones Turned Page Quickly Arkansas sophomore running back Felix Jones, 15 minutes after the Hogs' 31-26 loss to LSU last Friday, said, "We're going to forget about this game and go out next week to try to win the (Southeastern Conference) championship. We can't blame anybody. LSU has a great team, and somebody had to lose. Unfortunately, it was us. We gave it our best and came up short." Two days later, Hogs coach Houston Nutt said, "After looking at the film, I was really proud of how we played. It was really a heavyweight fight. I feel good about (still being ranked eighth). Deservedly so." Doubleheader On Friday Night Fans of Lady Razorbacks sports have a chance to attend both the Missouri State-Arkansas volleyball match in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Barnhill Arena at 5 p.m. Friday and the Portland State-Lady'Backs basketball game in Bud Walton Arena at 7 p.m. Friday. Chris Poole, coach of the 16-12 UA volleyball team, is proud of the fact that Arkansas is making its fourth straight NCAA appearance — one of just 27 teams that can make that claim out of the 64-team field. The nightcap of the volleyball doubleheader on Friday features top-seeded Oklahoma against Oral Roberts University at 7 p.m. The winners meet at 7 p.m. Saturday. Arkansas was one of just two teams to defeat OU at Norman this year — the other was No. 1 Nebraska. That UA win was a big reason the Lady'Backs still made the NCAA field with a 7-9 SEC mark. The UA women's basketball team, 7-1, is coming off a 2-1 trip to Hawaii. The Lady'Backs trailed No. 2 North Carolina just 46-39 at halftime and 76-63 with seven minutes left before succumbing 94-69. Campbell Remembers Hogs secondary coach Louis Campbell was on Danny Ford's UA staff when Florida beat Arkansas 34-3 in the 1995 SEC Championship Game. "I think that year it was apparent going in that Florida was better than we were," Campbell recalled. "We were tickled to death just to be there — it was our first year to go. And that's about how we played." Campbell continued, "It's a totally different feeling this time. We go in with the idea that we're as good as Florida is, and if we play well we have a good chance to win." GRANT HALL IS A MORNING NEWS SPORTS WRITER. HIS COLUMN APPEARS EACH MONDAY AND THURSDAY. E-MAIL: GHALL@NWAONLINE.NET

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