9:00 p.m. — Back to the Peabody to prep equipment and get ready for some football on Saturday. Good night from Memphis.
7:00 p.m. — Huge crowd for the sellout event at Alfred’s, and we shoot the final package stand-up items on the roof at Alfred’s with the RSN pre-bowl special in the background.
6:00 p.m. — All press conference video is on-line, and it’s off to the media reception and then on to Alfred’s for the Arkansas Alumni Association and Razorback Foundation event.
4:20 p.m. — Matt Wolfe is back from the parade with footage to add to day’s package.
4:15 p.m. — Back to the room for a minute to make updates and remind you that we’ve got the Texas game coming up next week in Fayetteville. That will be the next TwitTix — check in on Monday for details on the @ArkRazorbacks feed.
4:05 p.m. — Head across the street and before I can quite get down the alley, a young man comes up and asks "Are you Bill Smith?" Yes. "Then I have something to show you" — and with that, Matt Allison of Hamburg pulls out his iPhone to show me his iHog app. That makes him a winner to claim himself a pair of tickets to the Liberty Bowl.
3:45 p.m. — Send out the reminder post for the TwitTix. Looking out the window of the Peabody gift shop, is that a line to get in to the rib house in the alley, or people loitering for the tickets.
3:15 p.m. — Set up the TwitTix for this week with two seats to the Liberty Bowl. Here’s the guidelines — only Hog fans that lack seats (no trading up) and no scalpers (I’ll find out). Show up outside the Rendezvous at 4 p.m. and show me you iHog app on your iPhone.
2:45 p.m. — Back to the Peabody to edit, post and prep for the parade and the Alfred’s event with the alumni. Suddenly, the Peabody is Grand Hog Call Station as the lobby is filled with Cardinal shirts and Razorback luggage from fans and others moving into the hotel. It’s really feeling bowl atmosphere crazy now, and the parade is only 15 minutes away on Beale for the band and others.
Setting up for a road edition of Ask the Athletic Director
1:15 p.m. — After some adjustments from the Embassy Suites staff — who were very helpful — the road edition of Ask the A.D. is taped. Make sure to see that later this evening at RazorVision.
1:00 p.m. — Sigining footballs for the Liberty Bowl and doing pregame interviews for Razorback Sports Network closed out Petrino’s visit to the Embassy Suites, and he was off to the final practice — which is closed — at Memphis University School nearby.
12:45 p.m. — Two light-hearted items close the media event. First, Petrino was asked about his preference to not have walk thru at "the venue." Petrino toyed the the question a couple of ways — at that what? Oh, at the field. Pointed out he broke his usual routine at Dallas Cowboys Stadium "to get the awe" out of the way of the scoreboard and facility, but with Liberty Bowl he’ll take us regular approach. Most fields are the same he said, adding, "I could do the Hoosiers thing and measure the field . . . pretty sure it’s 100-yards long." The other question was about his brother, Paul, who left to be the offensive coordinator at Illinois. Bobby Petrino said he hoped to beat his brother in recruiting "because now he’s the enemy." In seriousness, said that he’d talked to Paul and that he would not be at the game and doubted he’d watch it as that would be "too painful."
12:40 p.m. — Once the questions moved away from suspensions and back to the game, Petrino said that protecting the QB for offense and keeping Pinkney in the pocket for defense are keys with ECU. "Don’t focus on the scoreboard, focus on performing" and "go out and have the best game of the year". Said that Tenarius Wright — Memphis native — tweeked his ankle but will be ready by Saturday.
12:34 p.m. — Coach Petrino takes the stage and opens with his statement. "It’s been a great week", St Jude visit "a real eye opener" for our players. His first question, as expected, was about his suspension of three players. He repeat some of what was said last night on the radio show, but expands is statements. It hurt him as a coach to have to do what he had to do, but he knew immediately what had to be done. "You have to learn to do right, or do wrong," echoing the old Orange Bowl game’s "Do-Right Rule" statement made by Lou Holtz before the Razorbacks upset #2 ranked Oklahoma. “I didn’t struggle with the consequence at all." He continued that there are "natural consequences" to everything. In a follow-up to the media, he emphasized he had no hesitation about what had to happen. It hurt his heart, it hurt his stomach, but no qualms at all about what he had to do. Pointed out in continuing follow-ups that he would need a group effort at some positions and with those players out, it is opportunity for younger players, have to come together and work as a group to overcome.
12:25 p.m. — Holtz closes with another thank you, then moves off to the side to take more questions from writers. ECU’s SID Tom McClellan holds up the painting for everyone to get a photo.
12:07 p.m. — Answers another question about being in a Hog Call atmosphere, works to bring focus back to his team, working to get into "game mode" and that Arkansas is an explosive team. While a low scoring game not vital to ECU win, wouldn’t hurt but more important he feels he must have all aspects come together as a team. Adds that ECU QB has made great strides from first half to second half of season; must be a multiple team on defense to keep UA off balance.
12:05 p.m. — After thanking the bowl and the city, Holtz gets right into announcing the suspension of two of his players for tomorrow’s game due to an altercation that took place at the awards luncheon. His first question from the media is about UA suspensions, Holtz answers he remembers what happened the last time Ark suspended three players before a bowl game, "I just got a painting of that."
12:04 p.m. — Skip Holtz arrives and his press conference begins with a special presentation from one of the Liberty Bowl committee members. John Ellis, a 1956 UA grad, presents Skip Holtz with an original oil painting of his father depicting the famous Orange Bowl victory in 1978. Ellis owns one of the local bar-be-que legends, Pig and Whistle, which has been in business for 65 years. They will provide the media BBQ tomorrow at the game, BTW. Ellis had the painting made for Lou years ago, but had not had the chance to present it to him. In his role with the Liberty Bowl, decided today would be a great time to give it to his son.
Ellis is an interesting alum — his cousin was none other than Wear Schoonover, the first Razorback all-American and a two-sport star at Arkansas. He’s also partners in the Staybridge Inn near the Razorback track and baseball stadium in Fayetteville. After the press conference, Ellis tells me he has 10 university alumns in his family.
12:00 p.m. — Awaiting the arrival of ECU’s coach, it is a packed house today for the last media opportunity. Both teams’ final practices/walk throughs are closed today.
11:15 a.m. — Arrive at the Embassy Suites — hey, the good mult box is here — to set up for both press conferences.
10:00 a.m. — Heading out to set up for media conferences and Ask the A.D. We also appreciate our @ArkRazorbacks followers, like Jenny Monsey and Chad Allison. Jenny had just signed up for the feed yesterday, and it paid off as they scored the TwitTix with two admissions to the Hog Wild on Beale event.
Are you signed up for @ArkRazorbacks? Do you want to win two tickets to the Liberty Bowl? You’ve got about four hours to get signed up before I start the clues to where I’ll be with those two seats for the game this evening.
9:00 a.m. — Reminders for today — First and foremost, the game is on ESPN and streams on ESPN360. Liberty Bowl retains on-line audio streaming rights so THERE WILL BE NO LIVE AUDIO OF THE RSN BROADCAST. Let me repeat so folks don’t become paniced and flood the mailbox with tickets — no audio stream of the game per Liberty Bowl regulations.
Second, tomorrow’s men’s basketball game is at 11 a.m. to accommodate the Liberty Bowl kickoff at 4:30. Again, a change for TV and the bowl from the printed schedules on men’s basketball.
PRE-BLOG: Happy New Year to all our RazorVision members and ArkansasRazorback.com followers. Today is busy again with the final press conference for the two head coaches at noon — we will have both here for you — then a special road edition of Ask the AD, coverage of the Libety Bowl parade and tonight’s Hog Wild on Beale at Alfred’s. RSN is also shooting its bowl special from Alfred’s tonight.