FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman held his weekly meeting with the media on Monday and talked about a variety of topics.
Arkansas (2-2, 0-1) will be in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium on Saturday to face Texas A&M at 11 a.m. on the SEC Network. Here’s five things to take away from what Pittman had to say.
Redshirt freshman Andrew Chamblee got his fourth start of the season on Saturday, but redshirt sophomore Devon Manuel got a lot of work off the bench. Manuel has been limited by injuries, but Pittman was asked if Manuel is close to gaining the starting spot there since he played more snaps on Saturday in the loss to LSU?
“The last part I don’t see that,” Pittman said. “Obviously, game feel, matchups, things of that nature go into it. I could sit here and tell you we’re going to do this, this and this and we wind up doing the opposite. And I meant what I told you. There’s still a major battle there.
“Devon has not yet put a full week of practice healthy or with the strain that he needs because of his injuries. So, until that happens I don’t know that we can do anything differently than what we’re doing now trying to get them both ready to play and things of that nature. If that happens we’ll have to decide what we’re going to do, but basically at the time that was going we felt like that was going to be the best way to win and that has nothing negative to do with Andrew. That’s what we thought.”
Penalties Issue Again
In the first two games of the season, both wins, Arkansas was penalized a combined 11 times including only four against Kent State. The Hogs got flagged for 14 penalties against BYU and then 11 against LSU. Pittman was asked what the Hogs were going to do about that since double-digit penalties will make it virtually impossible to beat any SEC opponent.
“Well, obviously whatever we did last week to address it didn’t work,” Pittman said. “All I know is that you have to have a ball in everything you do on the D-line. You have to move all the time on the O-line and you have to move with noise. Today we are going to do without it just to emphasize speed, getting set, all those types of things. Basically, it’s a new day and we’re having some install and we’ve got to talk to them, but throughout the week you just overemphasize movement. Move calls and those things. Like you said try to simulate as much as you possibly can, but obviously, what we didn’t work so we are gonna try and do something a little bit different.”
No Timeouts Remaining at End
Arkansas used two timeouts in the third quarter then the third and final early in the fourth period. Pittman said the Hogs are going to work on that issue this week as well.
“Yeah. I mean, we have to,” Pittman said. “We’ve got to get lined up faster, we’ve got to get set faster. We’ve got to get the call in faster. … Yeah, I mean, we have to, because I didn’t have any left. We didn’t have chance [at the end]. It was either let them score or knock or try to knock it out of them there at the end. So to answer your question, yes, we’re going to [address it].
“We’re not going to have music the first part of practice. We’re just going to have it during two-minute today so we can really coach the urgency of … And we haven’t had that problem in the past, so it had to have something to do with noise. We will get that back Tuesday and Wednesday, but today we’re just going to try to emphasize the speed of getting our plays in and getting them call and getting them run.”
Pittman was also asked if KJ Jefferson has the authority to call a timeout there?
“We tell him that if there’s no way he can get the play ran that he has the opportunity to call timeout,” Pittman said. “Now, there’ll be certain times during the game that he can’t. In other words, if we’re down to 1-yard (line), we’ll just take the delay or whatever it may be. If he knows he can’t get the play called in time, he has the opportunity to call the timeout I’ll be honest with you I don’t know if he can or not, you know what I mean. I don’t know whether he’s going to clap or not, he’s the only one that knows the clock and if he can get it off.”
Due to storms in Northwest Arkansas and surrounding areas the Hogs had travel issues getting back from LSU on late Saturday night, Sunday morning.
“I think we got here right around 7,” Pittman said. “Might have been a little bit earlier. You know, weather. We flew into Little Rock and landed. We had a few options. None of them were very good. They felt like we could’ve got to Tulsa at the time and bussed in and maybe gotten home around 5:30 or something. Or wait it out 2-4 hours.
“We tried to get some buses into Tulsa, and they didn’t have them. Come to find out if we would’ve went there we would’ve had to turn around and land in Little Rock because the weather wouldn’t allow us. My biggest thing at that point was the plane was real quiet, so I knew our kids were sleeping on the plane. That’s really what I was most concerned about. We pushed back yoga and things of that nature yesterday afternoon. The staff I pushed back an hour. We ended up getting the same amount of work on A&M. We just took a shorter family break last night and got the same amount of work on A&M. I think I got home around 7:15 or something like that.”
Rocket Sanders’ Status
Rocket Sanders hasn’t played since the season opener due to a knee injury. Pittman said Monday he still isn’t sure when they will get Sanders back.
“No, I wish I knew,” Pittman said. “We’re going to find out a little bit more today at practice. Obviously, he ran and did some things last week, but it wasn’t stop and starts and things of that nature. He’s going to do some things today, as much as he possibly can. Hopefully it goes well. We need him. To say he’s going to play or not right now — and this has nothing to do with A&M or who knows or what — I really don’t know right now.”