Arkansas interim head coach Reggie Herring was upbeat and positive after Arkansas began preparations Wednesday for a Cotton Bowl date with No. 6 Missouri. Herring said the Hogs "came to work" with a solid attitude.
Herring said he was concerned entering the day because of the long layoff since the victory over LSU, but that those concerns quickly vanished.
"It was very encouraging," Herring said. "To be honest, it looked like they had practiced two days ago. It was refreshing to see the coaches and players work so well together."
Herring turned over the defensive coodinator duties to Louis Campbell. That gave Herring freedom to roam throughout the workout.
"In individual and specialty, I spent time with each position," he said. "It was very encouraging. I saw the evidence of leadership. Personally, I enjoyed it. At the end of the day, it is obvious that these guys love football.
"I've got an adjustment to make (not being defensive coordinator), but I'll make it. My job is to stay out of everyone's way and I can do that.
"When I walked around and saw each coach and player work together, it's interesting to see the pride and ease that they worked together. I was pleased with each position. What I can tell you is that we enjoy football. These players enjoy the game. The way we worked, you could tell that we have a good foundation and it's obvious that today we benefitted from that foundation. I see our players responding. We've got a strong group. These players are going to be great fathers. They are so strong and have such a bond. These young men are very special."
Asked about Campbell's work Wednesday, Herring said, "I'm trying my best to just stay out of his way. The only things I commented on today were little things, like when a player was sloppy. Otherwise, I won't have much. It won't be Xs and Os, but the intangibles that I address."
Campbell was moving around well during practice, despite coming back from artificial knee surgery in late June.
"Yeah, I was moving around like a racehorse, wasn't I?" he said. "It felt good to be back out in a practice. I thought our defense was a little rusty today, but that's understandable. We are looking at a lot in Missouri's offense. I was rusty, too. I just tried to holler loud -- that's the sign of a good coach.
"The best thing about today, the players were really into it. They wanted to be out here."
Asked about Herring's presence, Campbell said, "I'm begging him for help. But I did tell him today that I should have replaced him a long time ago."
Campbell said it's been a hectic schedule of preparation for game planning the Cotton Bowl. He said all of the Missouri game films arrived Tuesday and he has begun to go through them.
"I've seen four films," he said. "It's been tough to get it all done and meet. It was so hectic today that I didn't get lunch. But to be honest, I didn't get hungry until right before practice."
As for Missouri's offense, he said, "They do everything as far as personnel, but what we saw is that they are in an empty backfield about 30 percent of the time. They also do a lot with two tight ends, but the split them out. They are a true spread that uses the whole field. They put everyone out wide, including their coaches."
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