The Razorbacks' defensive coordinator, who was placed in charge of the program after coach Houston Nutt resigned and surfaced at Ole Miss in late November, is one of seven interim coaches leading a team for a bowl game.
The other six interim coaches are at Texas A&M, UCLA, Georgia Tech, Houston, Navy and West Virginia through the holidays. Three of those schools fired coaches, while four — including the Razorbacks — are replacing coaches who resigned and took other jobs.
"I really think you can sum it up in this: Everybody wants to be at the top now, right now, and there's not enough room," Herring said about the large number of programs who have made changes despite bowl eligibility.
Herring's status with the Razorbacks under new coach Bobby Petrino is uncertain, but his name has surfaced at schools looking for defensive coordinators.
Tom Dienhart of The Sporting News wrote that Herring — who has been with the Razorbacks since 2004 — is "a strong candidate" at Texas A&M. The Aggies hired former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman to replace fired coach Dennis Franchione earlier this month.
Herring declined to comment on the Texas A&M job, but plans to sit down with his family when the season ends. In the interim, his goal as Arkansas' coach is simple.
"Get this team to the Cotton Bowl, fight like Razorbacks, win this game, start the new year off fresh, give the Razorback nation something promising for the future, give Coach Petrino a platform to generate and motivate and get his program going," Herring said. "This one is for the state of Arkansas. That's our goal and our mission."
Herring and the Razorbacks wrapped up three weeks of on-campus preparation for the Cotton Bowl on Thursday.
Herring said he "felt really good" about the production despite the distractions surrounding the program the past three weeks. He also believes Arkansas got more practice time than usual because of the circumstances.
"We got more practices in because basically we were bored," Herring said. "I didn't want to sit around and read the newspaper for an extra week. That's just being honest."
Arkansas is off through Christmas and players will report to Dallas on Dec. 26. Herring said players and coaches need the time off, but the Razorbacks will turn up the intensity when practice resumes in Dallas.
"When we rally back up in the Cotton Bowl it will be get-your-attention day because we'll start that first practice out in full pads," Herring said.
MORE FOR MONK?
Offensive coordinator David Lee may finally see receiver Marcus Monk close to full strength when the Razorbacks play Missouri in the Cotton Bowl.
Monk, who missed the first half of the season with a knee injury and has been limited since, was more involved during bowl practices this month. Lee, who also added a play for Monk on Thursday, said quarterback Casey Dick told him the senior is close to where he was last season.
Monk has 12 catches for 116 yards and three touchdowns this season.
"I'm excited about him and we'll wind it up and throw it at him if he's out there," Lee said.
Lee will be going home when the Razorbacks play in the Cotton Bowl.
Lee, who coached for the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-06 and will join Nutt at Ole Miss next season, owns a home in Dallas. He held onto it even though he returned to the college football.
"I never tried to sell it," Lee said. "It's one of those I'm trying to retire in I think. But that's a long way off."
Herring Among Several Carrying Interim Tag
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