Arkansas interim head football coach Reggie Herring said all players are set to play in the game, but noted that Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Jonathan Luigs will miss as much as two weeks of practice with trips scheduled for post-season awards.
Herring met with the media on Wednesday afternoon, conducting a briefing in the head coaches' conference room. He said life was going along in the Arkansas football camp just as if Houston Nutt, now head coach at Ole Miss, had not left.
"It's not easy," Herring said. "There has been a tremendous amount of turmoil and there has been a tremendous amount of distraction, but at the end of the day we are moving forward ... we will make adjustments and adapt."
Herring did confirm that there were a few players that needed to take care of academics to maintain bowl eligibility, but that those things were being taken care of by those players. He said it's the same as always, a few players need to do well at the end of the semester as far as grades.
Herring said McFadden and Jones are both excited to play in the game. He's talked to them and wanted to shoot down the rumor that they were not going to play. He also said Marcus Monk was excited to play in the game and Monk was "only worried about what we are going to wear."
Herring also announced that he had asked (and it was accepted) for Louis Campbell to serve as defensive coordinator for the bowl game. He said Campbell would coach the safeties and be on the field for the game. He said Chris Vaughn would move from coaching safeties to linebackers.
Herring also did some campaigning for the head coaching job, albeit after saying he wasn't there to do specifically that. He said his focus was to prepare the team, have them play with spirit and win the still to be determined bowl game.
Herring added that he could hire an "NFL offensive coordinator" who would entertain with a top-notch passing game if he was named head coach. He said he would like to be considered if the Arkansas search comes down to coordinators. He said the key to hiring a head coach was to find someone who could assemble a top-notch staff and he assured he could do that quickly.
Herring said things could change, but that all members of the current coaching staff has indicated it would be on board for the bowl game. He said David Lee would continue to serve as offensive coordinator.
"David is still the offensive coordinator," Herring said. "He has a good feel for it. David has been told to go score as much as possible -- score a lot and score often.
"I know some of the things that I'm saying sound like I'm interviewing, but that's not what this is about. I'm hired (as interim coach) for the next three weeks and I want this team to perform at a high level.
"I plan to delegate, discipline, organize and coach all facets of the game -- not get in the way. That's what a head coach does. I told David to run the offense and there are no straps, no chains.
"My idea of a good offense is to be balanced and run and throw. If you can run every down or you can throw every down, I have no problem. I think if you go back to what I believe, it is to be balanced and entertaining."
Herring reminded that he was once at Florida State when it "was the greatest show in Tallahassee and we threw it 50 times" a game. He said he wanted the offense to be "explosive and entertaining."
As far as the defense, Herring sang the praises of Campbell. The Arkansas has been an administrator in the capacity of Director of Football Operations for nine of the last 10 seasons, but coached on the field in 2006 and also served as secondary coach when Arkansas beat Texas in the 2000 Cotton Bowl.
"I put total faith and confidence in Louis Campbell," Herring said. "I truly believe and trust him.
"He knows our packages. He was on the field last season and he's been in our meetings and it's like he never left. We will move him back to coaching the safeties."
Herring admitted there may be more changes in the coming weeks.
"Barring a coaching exodus, we'll stay exactly the same everywhere else," he said. "But I can't predict what is going to happen. There will be bumps. You cannot constrain or demand that a coach not take another job.
"Right now, I can tell you that every coach is in the boat. We are all under contract. Our coaches are going to honor their contracts."
As far as players, Herring said, "There are no signs of anyone flinching. The players all jumped in the boat, too."
Campbell said his number one goal "is not to get choked by Reggie on national TV." He said he was excited and willing to get back into coaching. He also reminded that Bobby Allen was coordinator for the Cotton Bowl against Texas and that he served as secondary coach "and we didn't do bad."
As far as this time around, he said, "Coach Herring asked me to be defensive coordinator for this game and it's something I welcomed. I'm excited and it's something I wanted to do."
Campbell said "you never" get coaching out of your system.
"You always miss it and I'm looking forward to it," he said. "The biggest challenge is to learn the right calls. I will be on the sideline and I think I will have some paper with something on it so that I can cover my face like they do in the NFL. I'll try not to hurt us with any calls."
Campbell said there would be few changes in the defense even with a new defensive coordinator. Herring admitted he would give Campbell a few things on a "hit list" to pull from.
"We won't do much different," he said. "I'm just spending as much time in the film room as possible so I'm as familiar with our personnel as possible right now. That's my job the rest of this week."
Herring said the players will concentrate on academics the rest of this week before returning to the practice field for a couple of workouts next week built around final exam schedules.
The Hogs still don't have a bowl destination. Herring said the hope was for a Cotton Bowl trip, but for that to happen the Hogs need an LSU win this weekend in the SEC title game.
"Our players want to go to the Cotton Bowl," he said. "So we are rooting hard for the Tigers this weekend."
Herring: Campbell to coordinate defense
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Scout On the Road: SeptemberScout takes a look at some of the top prospects we saw in person during the month of September...
Scout FootballWednesday at 2:00 PM
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestMonday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballMonday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM
TCU vs Iowa State primerAfter falling in double-overtime to Arkansas, TCU looks to get back to their winning ways against Iowa State.
Horned Frog Insider09/15/2016