FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — In the days following the 56-3 shellacking Auburn handed Arkansas on Oct. 22, Razorbacks players found themselves shell-shocked and discombobulated.
That’s why coach Bret Bielema felt it necessary to bring some heavy hitters to town to address his beleaguered squad. Former Razorbacks Trey Flowers, Martrell Spaight and Sebastian Tretola all spoke to the current Arkansas team at some point over the last two weeks.
“They came and talked to us, and showed us how it hurt them, too,” said freshman defensive lineman McTelvin Agim. “How they still put on for the Razorback red, and how we have to take control of this.”
Whatever those former Hogs said clearly worked to some degree, as Arkansas shook off the Auburn loss with a convincing 31-10 victory over 11th-ranked Florida.
Flowers — in his second year with the New England Patriots — played defensive end for the Hogs from 2011 to 2014. He spoke to the team on Friday, Bielema said.
“I can’t exactly give you his exact words, but they were along the lines of, every day in this world you’ve got to eat,” Bielema said. “You’ve got to find ways to eat. Every day, that guy across from you is trying to take away your food. Our guys really responded.
“We kind of had a little motto out there today, ‘Everybody’s hungry and nobody’s getting full until the end.’”
Spaight is in his second season as a Washington Redskins linebacker. Tretola is a rookie offensive lineman with the Tennessee Titans.
Because the Patriots and Redskins were both off this week, Flowers and Spaight attended the Arkansas-Florida game, even leading the crowd in a fourth-quarter Hog call.
Agim said that when the former players spoke to the current team, the old-timers held nothing back.
Two weeks ago, Auburn rushed for 543 yards against the Razorbacks. That is the most rushing yards ever against an Arkansas defense.
Saturday against Florida, the Hogs surrendered only 12 rushing yards.
“It’s painful, but we understand it’s coming from love,” Agim said of the former players’ sometimes harsh words. “It’s coming from the hard work and tradition that we have here. … It was straight passion. We took that and took it out to the field.”