FAYETTEVILLE — Defensive end Trey Flowers said it isn’t in his nature to stand up in front of teammates and deliver a message. The junior admits he typically leaves his talking to the field, letting other veterans handle the speeches.
But Flowers couldn’t help it Tuesday night because something had been on his mind for awhile. He said it even kept him up at night. So he stood in front of the group and got a few things off his chest.
“I was just spreading the message about the winning attitude we’ve got to approach,” Flowers said. “It’s just about not letting anybody take food off our plate. Not letting heat take the food. Not letting being fatigued, being sore. It’s just a dog mentality. Stray dog out there that has to eat. That was pretty much the message. Embracing a winning attitude, having the will to win and refuse to lose.”
Arkansas’ coaches are looking for players to buy into their plans for the program as they work toward the Aug. 31 season opener and the third night of preseason camp made it clear Flowers is on board. The returning starter, who was second on the team with six sacks last season, admittedly stepped out of his comfort zone.
“He just brought us down to earth and got us pretty motivated,” Arkansas linebacker Austin Jones said. “I think that showed (during Wednesday’s) practice.”
When asked what prompted his speech, Flowers shrugged and indicated nothing in particular. He just wanted everyone to know where he stood entering the season.
“I mean, we’ve got a new facility, new coaches,” Flowers said. “We might as well embrace it and let them know about the new attitude.”
Flowers joked that he even asked one of the coaches to find him a microphone so he could address his teammates. But there wasn’t one so he just spoke up.
A few teammates said Tuesday the Huntsville, Ala., native’s message was heard.
“Big Trey just wanted to get everybody on the team to know that we belong in the SEC,” Arkansas linebacker Otha Peters said. “We’re bigger and stronger and we can fight against whoever is against us on that field.
“Trey is a very quiet person. He doesn’t really talk too much and he stays in the shadows. But (Tuesday) night when I saw him talk, I knew it meant a lot to him.”
Flowers will have a big say in making Arkansas successful this season. He and teammate Chris Smith are projected as one of the top returning defensive end tandems in the SEC after combining for 15 1/2 sacks last season.
Flowers said he’s motivated to live up to the expectations as the Arkansas defense tries to bounce back from last season’s disappointment.
He wanted everyone to know it as preseason camp continues.
“I don’t think I ever did that in high school,” Flowers said about his speech. “I’m more of a remind them during the battle we’ve got to make it happen. That’s not my real routine to speak before the season or after practice or nothing like that.
“I just felt like it had to be heard.”
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau