Arkansas interim head coach Reggie Herring thinks the selection of Missouri was exactly what the Razorbacks needed to get their attention for the Cotton Bowl.
Herring also addressed the question of coaches working for both Arkansas and Ole Miss this week. He said that Mike Markuson, Chris Vaughn and James Shibest -- along with administrator Clifton Ealy -- would spend this week recruiting for Ole Miss and miss the Hogs' only workout, set for Wednesday. Then, return to Arkansas for the next three weeks and coach in the Cotton Bowl.
Herring said both he and outgoing athletic director Frank Broyles have talked with new Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt about the situation.
"What Coach Nutt and I discussed today -- and what was worked out previously with Coach Broyles -- is that Coaches Markuson, Vaughn and Shibest would work one week for Ole Miss and also Clifton Ealy," Herring said. "They will at no time spend Arkansas money and not call Arkansas commitments. They will see players who have committed to Ole Miss. They will only miss Wednesday's practice.
"For the sake of sanity and peace, we need to come together. The players need the same coaches they have had the last one, two or three years. They need to have that trust and look at the same coach for the next three weeks."
Herring said it was "bad business" to get rent a coaches for the bowl game. He said it was important for everyone to have "some give and take on both sides. It's a very unique and unusual situation and everyone needs to be calm. We need to put the players first. I do understand the concerns of fans and the writers. I have Coach Nutt's word. And, starting Dec. 15 it is a dead period anyway."
Herring also emphasized that all coaches are "excited" about the bowl game. He also said that all Arkansas commitments are being seen. He said Tracy Rocker and Tim Horton are both on the road and that Bobby Allen would hit the road Thursday. All are seeing Arkansas commitments for Arkansas. Herring also said that he asked incoming athletic director Jeff Long to craft a letter to recruits and to phone those commitments, too.
"We are doing everything and absolutely missing nothing. We are doing everything that was bargained for and holding down the fort."
Herring said he's watched Missouri with a respect all year and knows the Hogs will be facing a tough opponent in Dallas.
"We are extremely proud to accept the Cotton Bowl invitation," Herring said. "We saw Missouri last night on TV and we know we have a very formidable opponent. They are the No. 6 team in the country. They have the attention of the Razorbacks.
"I think this is the perfect situation, something that will fire up our players. It's a transition time for Arkansas. It was important that we received a quality bowl opponent that generated excitement. We can rest assured that we now have our players' full attention."
Chase Daniels, the Missouri quarterback, has the attention of Herring, too.
"What a great competitor," Herring said. "He's a combination of Doug Flutie and Brett Favre. He has a great arm, a great runner and a great innovator on the move. He runs very well and is very physical. We saw what he can do in the empty backfield, making plays. We also have great respect for a defense that runs very well and plays physical."
Herring also addressed rumors that the Hogs would wear black shoes and black socks in the bowl game.
"That is my Christmas gift to the players," he said, noting he agreed to that request from the seniors. "I'm not much of a clothes horse, but this is something these players wanted."
Herring also said he had met with Long in regards to the coaching search for Nutt's successor.
"I'm not a candidate for the job at this time and I've assured him that I would not politic for the job," he said. "I've talked to him about it and I can tell you that he has football knowledge. We discussed what this university needs now. I can say that he has a great understanding of the tremendous responsibility in front of him and I have complete faith that the person he finds is someone you will be proud of to lead this program."
As far as Herring's future at Arkansas, he said, "When this is over I'll sit down with momma and we'll decide where to go. Maybe Slippery Rock will need a DC (defensive coordinator)."
As for the bowl trip, Herring said he hopes Arkansas fans will "come together" for a great trip to Dallas, a place he knows that Razorback fans have traditionally liked.
"Let's all come together as one and show the awesome power of the Razorback Nation. Let's all come together and go to this game as one.
"I just want everyone to enjoy this game, put everything aside and come together," he said. "What I've seen the last two years is a very proud program slip into a cloud of negativity. All I want is for it to end for the players. For this bowl, I want it to be fun. We need to set a record (for fans) at this game. And, if you can't get a ticket, come and park outside and make it a party."
Herring impressed with Mizzou
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