When in the closing moments before a title fight, the great referee Mills Lane used to deliver a very famous message to both boxers: “Let’s get it on!”
That would’ve been a very fitting T-shirt motto for both Arkansas and Virginia Tech Wednesday at the Belk Bowl Media Day.
After a week of fun including riding in NASCAR’s at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a department store shopping trip, and other fun events, both the Razorbacks and Hokies players are ready to play some football.
“You get the first week “kind of” off after your last game, and then you’ve got finals, then these last two and half weeks, it’s just felt like an eternity practicing every day getting ready for this game, especially when you get here, you just want to play, “Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen said.
For the Hokies, because of their appearance in the ACC Championship game, the wait hasn’t been as long, yet kickoff can’t come quick enough.
“It’s been a lot of fun. The Belk Bowl has put on a lot of events for us,” senior running back Sam Rogers said. “I can’t wait (to play this game.) Feels like it’s been forever since we’ve actually played a football game. Preparing all this time for one team, we just can’t wait to hit a different color jersey than our own. It should be a lot of fun.”
Both teams feel very confident they are ready to go, despite the long layoff.
Hokies junior quarterback Jérod Evans referenced lackadaisical preparation for a big game earlier in this season, as the reason why this team is more focused for tomorrow night.
“I think it was a blessing in disguise because it showed us where we were really at and the leadership on this team really understood that,” he said of the team’s lack of attention to detail getting ready for the Battle at Bristol in September and what happened after as better prepared this team for moments like this game. “We picked up on where we knew we were slacking in, so I think it was important, that early in the season, to understand that instead of later in the season.”
For both teams, there are many reasons not to get lost in the fun and extra circular events of Bowl week.
The Razorbacks are trying to end their “up and down” 7-5 season by finding something that’s eluded them this year.
“If we play to our potential,” said linebacker Brooks Ellis pausing for a moment to correct himself, “If we would have played to our potential all year, there’s no telling what we could have done. But we didn’t and that’s why we got to end this game and this season on a high note.”
Evans and the Hokies are not only looking to bounce back after a loss to Clemson in the conference title game, but would like to use Thursday night in Charlotte to make a statement.
“We just want to show everybody that Virginia Tech is back. That’s pretty much the whole thing We just want to go 1-0. We appreciate every day. But just to show that we’ve brought back Virginia Tech back to where it should be.”