What Sam Pittman Said On His Radio Show After Texas Win

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FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said Wednesday his team knew they would beat Texas last Saturday.

“We felt like we had a better football team as long as we went there and played physically,” Pittman said on his radio show at Catfish Hole. “We were prepared. We were confident. We knew if we went there and we were physical we would win the game. It was not a very close game.

The Razorbacks defeated the Longhorns 40-21. Texas were ranked No. 15 at the time and were favorites to win by touchdown.

The Arkansas defense smothered the Longhorns, holding Texas scoreless in the first half and just 136 yards on offense for three quarters. At that point, the game was out of reach.

Pittman said defensive coordinator Barry Odom felt good about implementing some Razorbacks game plans against Alabama last season when the Crimson Tide offense was coordinated by Steve Sarkisian, who is now the coach. -Head of Texas.

“We played in Alabama last year and our defense played pretty well,” Pittman said of the Razorbacks’ 52-3 loss to the Crimson Tide last December. “I know it’s hard to think about when they scored so many points on us, but (we) had some success. Barry felt like this was the way he wanted to go, with a three-man forehead, and we put a few wrinkles in it too.

“The kids believed in him, they believed in us, and whatever we design there, they’re going to execute.”

Pittman received a heroic reception for his radio show, which was his first scheduled public appearance since the victory that pushed the Razorbacks into the AP Top 25 poll for the first time in five years. Arkansas are ranked No. 20 ahead of their game against Georgia Southern on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Fayetteville.

“I’m glad we got ranked,” Pittman said. “It’s my job to make our kids understand that the only way we’re ranked is because of the way we train… and we prepare. I would rather be classified than not be classified.

“If we don’t win games, they know we are no longer ranked. I use it as a plus point.

Pittman also uses the classification as a precaution.

“We showed the team on Tuesday three different recent games where the teams had such a great victory, and then the following week they were beaten by an unranked opponent,” said Pittman. “They pretty much understand what can happen if you get lazy. You have to do what brought you there.

Pittman has spoken like a coach whose program has matured a lot in a week. He said the sold-out crowd of 74,531 helped Arkansas take a step forward in its development.

“To be an elite program, our kids have to experience it all,” Pittman said. “They must have the experience of a full and crowded Hog Walk and a crowded stadium. It’s our obligation to make sure we have a product that people want to come and see.

Pittman said he told his players before the game that people who fill a stadium “don’t come to see you play, they come to see you win”.

Pittman said he’s done more interviews than usual, but it has been an otherwise “fairly normal” week as the Razorbacks gear up for Georgia Southern. He said he was not happy with his team’s training on Tuesday, but believed Wednesday’s training was better.

“The great thing about this team is that we have 20 seniors… and anytime you have that many older guys on a team who are mature they can lead the team,” Pittman said. “(The coaches) are going to be leading the team a lot in practice on what we’re going to do, what we’re going to call, all of those things. Everything outside of this field, sometimes on the field and certainly during games, the children lead the team. I mean, it’s like that.

“When they’re in the locker room, they lead the team. When they’re on Dickson Street, they run the team. Weren’t there. They have to manage the football team and these guys did a really good job.

Preparing for the optional Georgia Southern offense presents “a tall order because they’re different from anyone we’ve played with so far this year,” Pittman said.

The Razorbacks began installing defensive sets for this game during the preseason. Pittman said he changed his training routine on Wednesday and faced the second against the first so that quarterback Malik Hornsby – considered the team’s fastest player – could face the starting defense.

“I know (Georgia Southern quarterback Justin) Tomlin is good, but he can’t be faster than Malik Hornsby,” Pittman said. “We’ll see, I guess. They really did a good job of adapting it today.

Pittman was proud of the Razorbacks’ 333 yards on 47 carries (7.1 yards on average) against Texas. He said Arkansas “could be a really good running football team” with continued work.

It starts, Pittman said, with quarterback KJ Jefferson’s threat to throw the ball. Jefferson ran 10 times for 73 yards against the Longhorns and, for two weeks, has the second-best score for a quarterback nationally, according to Pro Football Focus.

Pittman compared Jefferson to a horse, especially a clydesdale because of his size. He said Jefferson posed problems for Texas to line up their defense.

“He’s a 255-pound fat guy who can run,” Pittman said. “It opened up the midfield a bit because they were on the edge waiting for KJ to keep the ball.”

Four different backers – Trelon Smith, AJ Green, Dominique Johnson and Raheim “Rocket” Sanders – rushed for a touchdown against Texas. Pittman said he liked Green’s play, especially on a 30-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter when a Texas safety took a good angle but was beaten to the corner of the end zone.

“I think it maybe surprised him how quickly AJ passed him,” Pittman said. “He can run 10.3 (seconds over 100 meters). That’s fast for a 200 pound kid.

In one of the lighter moments of the night, Pittman recalled a conversation with Green after the Texas game.

“I saw him on Monday and I asked him, ‘How many litters do you have?’ Pittman said. “He said six. I said, ‘How many hits do you have?’ He said one. I said, ‘Well, what happened with the other five?’

“He’s really fast.

Pittman continued to praise the play of his offensive line, particularly center Ricky Stromberg and tackles Dalton Wagner and Myron Cunningham – the three positions where Pittman said good lines begin.

He was pleased with the play of the six linemen who played against Texas, including backup right guard Beaux Limmer who alternated with Ty Clary.

“They gel pretty well,” Pittman said.

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