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Bill’s Bowl Blog: Rain and Rodeo

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Bill’s Bowl Blog: Rain and Rodeo

10:00 p.m. — Don’t forget, the special bowl edition of Bobby Petrino Live is set for Primetime, the sports theme resturant in Peabody Place right next to our hotel from 7 to 8 p.m. tomorrow night. For now, good night from Memphis.

9:45 p.m. — Back to the Peabody for the evening. Tomorrow includes a visit to St. Jude’s by several team members in the early morning. Close to noon, the Razorbacks offense takes the stage at the Liberty Bowl press conference. The team attends the awards luncheon, then heads back to afternoon practice. This practice is closed as the team begins to focus in even more on the game.

7:00 p.m. — Ranging from Seth Oxner, somewhat of a veteran, to Lavunce Askew, a first-timer, we got a few moments to talk to some of the Razorbacks about rodeo. You can see clips of their comments in tonight’s wrap-up video.

6:45 p.m. — Heading out to the AgriCenter for tonight’s rodeo, we cross paths with the team bus and its escort. Impressive stuff as we counted 10 vehicles assisting the Razorbacks.

6:00 p.m. — Another reminder, if you want to watch the unedited media events today, jump to Bowl Central and click on the video page. Also on Bowl Central, an updated set of instructions for parking from the Liberty Bowl staff.

5:50 p.m. — Our player interviews with the defensive players at the Liberty Bowl press conference closes with asking each one what they have for New Year’s Resolutions.

5:45 p.m. — The Razorback football team is heading into meetings, then a bus load are headed out to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Pro Rodeo at 6:30. That’s our next stop also.

5:20 p.m. — Christina and Jeff did a great job escorting the ducks to their palace, and more than earned their honorary duckmaster proclamations and canes. We’ll have video later tonight.

5:00 p.m. — The Marching of the Ducks takes place to another huge crowd. Sensat tells all the legends of how the Peabody got its name and how the 70-plus-year old practical joke with a set of live decoy ducks left in the fountain from duck hunting in Arkansas ended up a hotel tradition. To read more about the Peabody Ducks, jump to their web page.

4:45 p.m. — The Peabody’s Duckmaster, Jason Sensat, takes me up the elevator to the roof-top Duck Palace. He explains how they ducks will want to lead, and to shoot the video of them leaving from the elevator and into their home, I’ll need to stay way ahead. There’s a light drizzle again, and for most patrons tonight, for safety, the rooftop of the Peabody and the Duck Palace is not open.

4:30 p.m. — Most of the video is up, few more player pieces to go, but time to head downstairs to see our guest Duckmasters — Christina Long and her dad, Jeff.

2:35 p.m. — Finish out blog posts for the moment as we concentrate on getting video sent to the website. Later this evening, several football players and members of the travel party will be in attendance at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Pro Rodeo out at the AgriCenter. We will be there as well.

More with this fine feathered friend later this afternoon

2:00 p.m. — Talk briefly with the head Duckmaster about tonight’s ceremony. Get a couple of close-up shots with the stars of the show.

1:30 p.m. — On the drive back to the team hotel at the Peabody, the rain picks up. Good thing we’re finished with practice for the day.

1:15 p.m. — Razorback defensive players Rudell Crim, Malcolm Sheppard, Adrian Davis and Jerry Franklin talk individually with media. We will have them as well later this afternoon on the video page.

1:10 p.m. — Robinson closes by inventing a new word to describe the way Arkansas has played in creating turnovers on defense: "We’ve been fortune-natistic" — combining opportunistic with fortune — and you know, it makes perfect sense.

12:50 p.m. — A couple of Robinson highlights. When things slack up momentarily in the questions, Robinson says to the media, "Come on guys, dead air, next question." The group chuckles, but the next question cues up fast. Later, when asked about the pace of practice today, Robinson expresses his disappointment with the speed today — good this week prior to today, and it will pick up again tomorrow. In a question about the fact Arkansas has given up big plays, Robinson picks up his own pace, explaining with a growing intensity about how they like to be aggressive, take chances and that his players wouldn’t have it any other way. "We take chances and ask our guys to be aggressive" and sometimes that "jumped up and bit us." As a defense, we "don’t dwell on it" and "we go." At this point, he begins to go around the room and ask players, would you like us to sit back? "No sir" the quick responses.

12:45 p.m. — After the Pirates finish, Razorback defensive coordinator Willy Robinson takes the stage with his characteristic intensity. Arkansas players are positioned around the room, and throughout his talk, Coach Robinson is involving them in the answers. Be sure to watch the video when it posts later today.

12:00 p.m. — East Carolina’s offensive coordinator takes the podium. Assembled media buzzing about AP reports regarding Texas Tech.

Wider view of practice under the watchful eye of the video operator on the scissor lift

11:30 a.m. — Leaving to set up for the first of two coordinator’s media events nearby at the Embassy Suites. Again, we will have video of both ECU and UA coaches, plus the Razorback players.

Arkansas media getting their stand-ups for TV in during the open video portion of practice

10:00 a.m. — A larger crowd greets the team at Memphis University High, and for the opening periods of practice, the rain is holding off. A light drizzle kicks in around 10 a.m. just after the set-up is made for Coach Petrino’s post-practice media event.

9:20 a.m. — Learn that there is a special guest Duckmaster tonight. RazorVision will be along for the ride.

8:30 a.m. — As we load up cameras for practice, the rains haven’t started in Memphis, and the National Weather Service backed off the 90% chance down to 60% — significant, but not a lock. If you want to keep up with the local NWS radar and see if its raining on the Razorbacks, jump here.

Remember — practice moved for today to articicial surface at Memphis University High.

PRE-BLOG: Today’s forecast calls for near certain precipitation, and as a result, the Razorbacks are shifting fields from the natural turf at Rhodes for practice. The team will dress at Rhodes, but bus over to Memphis University High [don’t get confused here — NOT University of Memphis], which has an artificial surface. Practice time remains the same, 10 a.m.

We’ll also see the return of the Liberty Bowl sponsored media events, so additional video in the offing on our Bowl Central’s video page. The East Carolina offensive coordinator and four players are on tap with Arkansas’ defensive coordinator, Willy Robinson, and four defensive players.

The evening event is the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Rodeo out at the AgriCenter.

Our starting photo today is from our official department photographer, Wesley Hitt. Each day, Wesley is creating a new photo album of practice and events surrounding bowl week. Today, he’ll be on his way to North Little Rock for the men’s basketball game with Baylor, but jump to the Bowl Central page to take a look at his first three days worth of photos.



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