FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas football season ended with the 20-13 loss to LSU in Razorback Stadium on Nov. 23.
But, more than two months later, a pair of former Arkansas players will put on their Razorback red helmets to play one more time.
Quarterback Tyler Wilson and receiver Cobi Hamilton will wrap up their week in Mobile, Ala., by playing in the Senior Bowl today. The game kicks off at 3 p.m. in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium and is being televised by the NFL Network.
Both players are part of the South squad, which is being coached by the Detroit Lions staff. It’s the end of a one-week job interview for both players, who have practiced in front of NFL personnel and met with individual teams during one of the league’s premiere pre-draft events.
Plenty of eyes have been on Wilson, especially, because of the position he plays.
The quarterback said in interviews he was prepared for the poking and prodding.
“When you go into a situation of uncertainty, I kind of have a little smile on my face because you have to attack everything,” Wilson told Fox Sports during an interview in Mobile this week. “You’ve got to do the best you can.”
Wilson, by most accounts, has handled it well. The Greenwood native is one of six quarterbacks in Mobile and made an impression, earning the practice player of the week award at the position during a banquet Thursday night.
One player from each position is selected for the award each year. A panel of NFL scouts and executives who attended practices voted on the awards.
“Wilson’s a guy I’ve heard a lot about this week at night from the coaches and scouts because he had such mixed reviews coming off the tough senior season,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said during a television broadcast this week. “Came down here, spun it pretty effectively.”
Hamilton — who set Arkansas records with 90 catches for 1,335 yards last season — hasn’t done poorly, either, in his first NFL audition.
The Texarkana, Texas, native is among a group of talented wideouts on the South squad that includes Baylor’s Terrance Williams and Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton. But Hamilton believes he has a leg up on the road, according to Al.com, in his quest to be regarded as the best receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft.
“I worked with Bobby Petrino,” Hamilton told Al.com. “He’s a great playcaller. A lot of the terminology we used at college, we’re using here. It helped me a lot throughout this week, so a lot of things came basic for me.”
Today’s game gives Hamilton and Wilson one final chance to connect as college teammates when the South faces the North in the Senior Bowl.
It also will wrap up Senior Bowl week for both players. But it’s not the end of the NFL interview process. The next step is the NFL Scouting Combine in late February.
“This is the first step. There’s three hurdles in the evaluation process,” Wilson said during a video interview on the Senior Bowl’s website this week. “This being, obviously, one. Two being the Combine and three being pro day. …
“You’ve got to manage yourself over those three hurdles.”
Assistants Find Positions
Former Arkansas offensive line coach Chris Klenakis and defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell have found their next jobs, according to reports.
Klenakis has accepted a position as Iowa State’s offensive line coach, according to footballscoop.com. Caldwell, meanwhile, has accepted a position as Arkansas State’s defensive line coach, according to coachingsearch.com.
The two were the last of the 2012 staff looking for new positions. The 10-member staff has three head coaches in Paul Petrino (Idaho), Paul Haynes (Kent State) and John L. Smith (Fort Lewis College). Tim Horton is at Auburn, Kevin Peoples landed at Alabama-Birmingham and Kris Cinkovich is the offensive coordinator at Idaho. Taver Johnson remains on Arkansas’ staff, while Bobby Allen has moved into an administrative role as the program’s director of high school relations.