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Horns balancing bowl prep with final exams (article)


Matt Cotcher
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Posted by Matt Cotcher, 16 December 2014
 

 

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On Tuesday, Charlie Strong and a few players spent time answering the media's questions. The team has not begun preparing for the Arkansas Razorbacks yet, and is instead using their first bowl practices to correct mistakes made in the TCU game. The entire team is also mired in final exams, so finding time and energy for football practices can sometimes be difficult.

Final exams end on the 17th, so the team will start focusing on Arkansas on the 18th. From a schedule standpoint, the team will travel to Houston on Christmas Eve, spend the holiday together, and then resume practices on Friday, December 26th.

Here's what Strong had to say about the team's upcoming schedule, "What we're going to do is practice all the way up. I think we're going to travel on Christmas Eve because I don't want to be on the road on Christmas Day. We're going to travel on Christmas Eve, leave out that afternoon. Everyone has to show up at the hotel at a certain time. Christmas Day, I just want everyone to gather so we all have a gift and that way the whole team is together, and we're going to give them something so that we can enjoy Christmas Day. We're going to practice and then also enjoy Christmas Day."

John Harris wasn't quite so positive-minded about the schedule, saying, "I've had too many Christmases with my teammates by far since I've been here (laughs). It is what it is. I don't mind being around them a little bit longer. We'll have a good time, and we'll make the most out of it. It would be fun to be at home on Christmas morning, but it's the hand that we've been dealt. We've got to live with it.

Strong also spent a considerable amount of time talking about the state of recruiting within the program. When asked if recruiting was he wanted it to be, Strong answered, "It is. There's still some key guys left out here."

Stong also talked about how he handles recruiting offensive players (being a defensive coach), as well as the need to send two distinct messages - one to a recruit, and one to their parent. Strong also hinted at how many recruiting targets are left between now and signing day, saying there are, "10 to 12 players still left, and they're really good football players."

Additionally, there was talk of what positions the team is looking to fill with their remaining slots. Specifically, Strong said, "when I look at this class, we'd like to sign anywhere from five -- at least four to five offensive linemen. We're going to need to get some linebackers because of our linebackers that are leaving. Secondary-wise, we're going to need some corners. We have to get some corners in the secondary. Wide receiver, you don't need many because you have enough receivers that are stocked now. And then you'd like to get a running back. And the quarterback position is critical for us."

Other highlights of the session:
  • ​Strong confirmed that Darius James had surgery last week and will miss the game.
  • Jaxon Shipley is expected to play.
  • Caleb Bluiett is still being evaluated. The coaches will evaluate his status at the end of the week.
  • Jordan Hicks confirmed he will not return.
  • John Harris confirmed he will not return.
  • Most of the players joked that they're too young to remember Arkansas as an historic rival, but all of them are aware that the game carries extra significance because of the opponent. Instead of being excited about playing a rivalry game, several players commented that they are fired up about playing an SEC team.
  • Taylor Doyle, Sedrick Flowers, and Marcus Hutchins individually talked about the stuggles on the OL to develop chemistry and find consistency.

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  • Most of the players joked that they're too young to remember Arkansas as an historic rival, but all of them are aware that the game carries extra significance because of the opponent. Instead of being excited about playing a rivalry game, several players commented that they are fired up about playing an SEC team.

Just throw in a few of the Texas vs. Arkansas games when Houston Nutt was coaching the hogs and these guys will get it. 

 

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