FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — After the Red and White teams completed a 45-minute walk-through on Friday in preparation for Saturday’s noon game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the coaches for each squad took a few verbal jabs at each other.
George Wilson, a sophomore receiver out with a knee injury, is coaching the White team while Jermaine Brooks, a senior defensive tackle out with a shoulder injury, is coaching the Red.
“If I was a betting man, I would bet on us,” Wilson said. “We’ve had some good practices and today our guys looked like they were really into it, so I’m looking forward to it. If it’s fourth and two or less, I’m going for it.”
“We’re going to play hard,” Brooks said. “I’m so psyched up about my players getting ready. We’re going to play very physical and hard. We’re going to come out and show them how we play.”
Head coach Houston Nutt said the players are ready and he’s looking forward to sitting back and watching.
“I like both of them, I’m neutral,” he said. “I’m right down the middle. I get to watch. I don’t even have to call a play.
“They’re in a good mental frame of mind and they’re ready to go. It’s going to be very competitive. Of the five years we’ve been here, I think this is the most excited I’ve ever seen a group of Razorbacks ready to play a game. I’m excited about watching them.”
The coaching staff is still evaluating players, but Nutt said the name of the game Saturday is fun.
“The thing you get out of it is you’re still playing the game, everybody is playing their position hard,” he says. “You might not be lining up with the guy you’re going to play with next fall, but we feel, with the amount of scrimmage time we’ve had, more than 290 plays, we’ve accomplished what we wanted to do so now is a fun time and we’ll let them enjoy the game.”
Wilson said the White team, which features quarterbacks Matt Jones and Ryan Sorahan, backs Cedric Cobbs, Brandon Holmes and Kyle Dickerson, and receivers Decori Birmingham and Sam Breeden, is approaching Saturday as an actual game.
“Whoever gets ready to play between the whistles, from the first whistle to the last whistle, is going to win,” Wilson said. “It’s not a popularity contest and it’s not a talent show. It’s a football game. We’re going to come in just like any ordinary team, take the field the same way and win the game.”
Brooks, who has defensive end Raymond House, linebacker Tony Bua, offensive linemen Mark Bokermann and Scott Davenport, and backs Fred Talley and Mark Pierce on his Red squad, said his team will play with more emotion.
“Have you seen ‘Remember the Titans,'” he asked. “I hope you have. What did they do? They danced right? They created a vibe and emotion about themselves. They had a strut. We’ll have a strut about ourselves when we come out. We don’t have to say much or talk much, but we’re quite assassins. That’s what we are and that’s all I have to say.”
As for any side bets between the opposing coaches, Brooks said: “He (Wilson) can’t run and I can’t do pushups, so we’re limited.”