Arkansas switched gears Thursday on the practice field. Coaches were ready with Alabama plans when players arrived at the Broyles Center, after learning the Texas game was postponed Wednesday evening because of Hurricane Ike bearing down on the gulf coast.
"We found out about an hour and a half before the announcement," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "That gave us a chance to start our work on Alabama.
"We are all disappointed that we aren't going to play Texas because we put in two very good days of preparation, but we understand and certainly think it was the right decision. We had kinda been expecting it and the only thing is we just wanted to get a decision and go forward."
Petrino said the only thing the Hurricane did for sure was cancel some recruiting trips to south Texas that were planned around the trip to Austin for the weekend.
"We are still going to get out recruiting Friday night, but we lost the Texas part of it," he said. "We'll get our maximum number of coaches on the road, seven. We'll send some to the north, some in Florida and some around here. We can't go (to south Texas) so we lost that."
Petrino said the Hogs will try to take advantage of what will now be an open date this weekend to get their legs fresh and for coaches to take a day off Saturday. The Hogs will not practice Friday or Saturday, and return to the practice field at 7 p.m. Sunday.
"We took it off them a little today (with no leg pads), but still got in a good 90 minutes," Petrino said. "We've had a good week of practice. Our team is coming together. We had two good days in pads this week."
Asked about special teams, Petrino said, "We've gotten better. We've put in a lot of work in that area."
Offensive tackle Jose Valdez said it was a fast-paced workout with an emphasis on Alabama.
"I was surprised how quickly we got to Alabama today," he said. "I didn't know until last night watching the news that we weren't playing Texas. First thing today, we have Alabama stuff ready for us.
"We had a good workout today. It was ones against ones and we hadn't done that in awhile. There was a big emphasis on staying up (and off the field in pileups). The coaches made sure we knew not to take any shots at anyone. We didn't wear knee braces and tried to do everything we could to play fast."
D. J. Williams said he was surprised, too, on the speed of the transition to Alabama.
"I'm not saying anything about the last staff, just saying that this staff moved really quick from Texas to Alabama," Williams said. "We had CD cutups on Alabama today. I don't think I expected it to be that quick. This staff is always organized and ready for everything so it shouldn't be a surprise, but I have to admit it was a surprise."
Valdez said, "We came out here and our coach (Mike Summers, offensive line) just told us, 'It's on to Alabama. Here's what they do.' He said there would be good carryover from Texas to Alabama because they run a lot of the same schemes. So we were doing Alabama stuff today."
Valdez said he expected the decision on the Texas postponement. He said the storm has been a hot topic among players, especially those with Texas ties. Valdez has relatives in the San Antonio area.
"I've already checked on them (by phone) and they are all OK," Valdez said. "It's going to miss them. I know some of the others guys have relatives that they are worried about. We understand why the game can't be played. But we were ready to play."
Thursday Grid Update, 9/11
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