"This is a project that we're in for the long haul," Chris Ash said following the Hogs' Wednesday practice. "The players are buying into what we're doing but they've just got to do what we ask them to do on a daily basis. Frankly that's our biggest problem right now. Also we're playing some guys out there that have not played in the past so they're really freshmen."
No position on the field fits that description better than at linebacker where inexperience abounds and nobody is getting the job done according to the man who coaches them.
"When you lose games nobody is playing well," linebackers coach Randy Shannon observed. "In practice they're hustling and playing hard but you've got to make plays on the football field during games and we're not doing that right now."
"When we do have a great day and we are getting better he feels like the next day it's kind of like we take a day off," Senior linebacker Jarrett Lake said of Shannon. "Really every day has to be a work day for us."
Senior defensive end and team captain Chris Smith didn't want to talk about Seniors Day coming up a week from Saturday against Auburn telling reporters, "It makes me sad to think about playing my last game here." Smith also said that if the team wasn't mired in a five-game losing streak rumors that they were using the bye week to rest and heal up might be true. As it is, there is no time for that.
"People don't think you can get better in a bye week," Smith noted. "I feel like you can. That's one thing that we have done and we're going to have a great practice tomorrow. We've got an extra week for Auburn and we'll use it to get in more preparation for them."
"If you go off the scoreboard we've got a long way to go," Ash admitted. "We're still trying to find out who our best eleven are to put on the field. We're still trying to teach football I.Q. For an example, when we first got here the players didn't even know how to turn on a computer to watch film, let alone watch film. So we've had to go all the way back to ground zero."
"Nobody on this team is going to quit or give up," junior cornerback Tevin Mitchel said of Arkansas 3-5 record. "We all have to hang onto that rope and play the rest of the season. The season is not over. We should feel blessed that we're still out here playing."