Football Team Focused, Ready for 2012

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas wide receiver Quinta Funderburk has been released from his scholarship and will transfer, John L. Smith confirmed on Wednesday.

Funderburk missed several spring practices last year and was allowed to leave the team to deal with homesickness.

Also on Wednesday, the school announced the season-ending Battle for the Boot with LSU will be played on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, at Razorback Stadium.

That wasn’t the only schedule news released. The university also confirmed that the Razorbacks’ game with Texas A&M will be a home-and-home for the next two years, with Arkansas playing in College Station in 2012, and the Aggies coming to Fayetteville in 2013. There are negotiations to return the game to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tx. in 2014.

All this adds to the furor surrounding a team that had national title aspirations before Bobby Petrino was dismissed as head coach on April 10. But when players met with the media on Wednesday, those aspirations didn’t seem to have waned.

“I’ve tried to eliminate myself from a lot of stuff that [the media covers],” said senior quarterback Tyler Wilson. “I like to be inside my bubble and concentrate on what I can concentrate on. I think that’s what you have to do as an athlete in order to be successful.”

Those comments came a day after a Sports Illustrated writer tabbed Wilson as the no. 1 overall pick in his first 2013 mock NFL draft. That is the latest in a series of accolades for Wilson, junior running back Knile Davis and the rest of the team. But Davis says that right now, those don’t mean anything.

“Heisman watch is nice, and the top 10, but until we’ve done something, we have no room to be comfortable,” Davis, a preseason pick to contend for the Heisman trophy, said.

With Petrino gone and Smith taking over, leaders like Davis and Wilson have had to step up.

“Between me, Tyler and the rest of the seniors, we keep the young guys motivated and hungry,” Davis said. “That’s all we can do.”

Arkansas opens the 2012 season Sept. 1 in Fayetteville against Jacksonville State.

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