LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It is almost time for the Razorback football to return to Little Rock, and Tuesday Head Coach Sam Pittman made an appearance at the Little Rock Touchdown Club. He was the first guest speaker to kick off the club’s season.
There was not a football in sight. Instead, football was the conversation, and everyone was watching what the Head Hog had to say. One thing was clearly on his mind.
“Last year was obviously a little disappointing in that we lost four games by nine points, and we’ve got to change that,” Pittman said.
Wants by the fans for a better defense, an all-SEC quarterback and the coach to lead the way to another winning season were all addressed.
“I just enjoy him telling it like it is,” fan Harry Hayman said. “He’s not going to sugarcoat it, and he’s going to tell you everything that is going on.”
Hayman and other fans recognize Pittman has won 19 games in the time it took the previous coach to win eight. Pittman’s demeanor has also won them over.
“For me, it’s just been kind of the pride restored in the program seeing the coach embrace the state,” University of Arkansas graduate Murray Benton said.
“He has strong feeling for our state regardless of whether he is from here or not, and that shows,” club volunteer Amanda Lambert said.
Going into the season, each fan has their own uncertainties, so hearing the coach’s perspective on the team’s depth, transfers and SEC opponents was a comfort for Benton.
“You’ve got LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Texas A&M, Georgia, Florida. You have to find your way pretty quick or you’re going to get buried, but I think we’re doing that right now,” Benton stated. “I think this year will prove it.”
Some fans arrived three hours early for the event, and the sea of red expects to gather again in Little Rock on Sept. 2 for the season kickoff at War Memorial Stadium.
“We are going to come over here, and we’re going to have a hell of a time,” Pittman said.
Even the governor and lieutenant governor are members of the Touchdown Club and were acknowledged for their attendance.
Former Razorback Peyton Manning will be a Little Rock Touchdown Club speaker on Sept. 5. The group will be meeting at the Statehouse Convention Center to accommodate the thousands who may want to see him. Ticket information for future events can be found online.