Matt's Missive

Rebel Right Guard Matt Hall doesn't have hatred in his voice when he speaks of his time at Arkansas, but he does feel he has something to prove to his former coach and teammates when the Rebels face the Hogs this Saturday.

When massive Right Guard Matt Hall transferred to Ole Miss two years ago from Arkansas, it was easy to tell he was relived to be away from Fayetteville.

He didn't talk about the issues he had there, but it's been widely speculated they centered around Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino and staff, who replaced Houston Nutt and his staff the year Matt signed with the Razorbacks.

"I play as hard as I can against everyone we face, but this game Saturday, it's different," said the 6-9, 340-pounder who sat out the 2010 season due to NCAA transfer rules. "This one is personal and it's a game I have been looking forward to since I transferred.

"I know a lot of the players and we are still good friends. They were not the reason I left," he continued. "It will be fun to compete against them. It will be a lot of fun and I'm sure we will all be trying to prove something to the other."

Hall won't speak of Petrino, even when prodded.

"I'm not going to get into all that, it's water under the bridge. I just had my reasons for leaving there," Matt stated. "It's all good now that I am here.

"The game Saturday is about competition against some friends and we will all be giving it everything we have. They will and I will."

Hall refers to his Ole Miss experience as a second chance.

"I am really happy to be here and really appreciative Coach (Houston) Nutt gave me a second chance," he noted. "My whole time here has been nothing but good and nothing but a benefit to me. We don't like the losing at all, but the experience - the Ole Miss experience - is everything I'd hope it would be."

Matt says it's kind of "weird" to prepare to play guys he was formerly teammates with.

"I roomed with (Hog QB) Tyler Wilson for a while," said Hall. "I'm not surprised he is doing what he is doing now. He was real young when we roomed together, but I had no doubt he would be a great player.

Matt Hall
Chuck Rounsaville

"He's put a lot of time and effort into being a good quarterback. He works his tail off to get to where he is now," Hall assessed. "He could always throw the ball, but now he knows the offense and has a quick mind in reading plays as they develop."

The Razorback defense has Matt's respect.

"They have some great players and they play hard," he said. "They have some veteran guys who grew up in their system and they know what to do. They work well together because they have been together for a long time. I respect them a lot."

Hall didn't have any doubt the Hogs would develop into a good team after he left.

"Those guys work hard, they care and they have great leaders," he evaluated. "It was just a matter of time before the group that came in with me developed into a good football team."

The Rebels, according to Hall, are still in there plugging away despite a 2-4 record thus far.

"We are working hard and putting in the effort to get better," he explained. "We have not lost hope. Nobody likes what is going on with the losing, but we have to have short memories and just keep on pushing forward."

Matt believes the Rebel offensive line is improving weekly, but it's been baby steps.

"Bobby (Massie) and I are more and more on the same page with twists and things like that and we are still giving the effort to get better. We will continue to do that," he proclaimed.

After the Alabama game, in the Rebel locker room, a tongue lashing to the team delivered mostly by injured LB D.T. Shackelford went out over the radio. Hall said he had no problem with that method.

"Nobody likes losing. We don't work this hard every day to lose. It hurts," said. "We had some young guys in there just being young and D.T. felt it was time to send a message.

"He's an awesome leader and a guy I respect a lot. I would do anything for him and he felt it was time to step up. He's a great person and if he felt like it was needed, then I'm on board.

"I trust his judgment and decision to do it. Whatever it takes for us to turn it around, I'm for. We will stick together and do everything we can to turn this around."

For now, that means Arkansas.

"I can't wait," said Hall. "This will be a fun game."

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