Arkansas Has to Clean Up Number of Penalties

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Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman talks with a game official during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Auburn on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

FAYETTEVILLE — Once again on Saturday Arkansas was shooting itself in the foot particularly in the first half with penalties.

Probably the only thing that allowed to escape with a win and that many penalties was Mississippi State was just as bad in that sense. Each team was penalized for 78 yards. Arkansas on 11 penalties and the Bulldogs 10. Mississippi State committed an obvious, but very costly holding penalty against Treylon Burks on Arkansas’ game-winning drive. Sam Pittman isn’t happy about the penalties.

“You’re going to get penalties,” Pittman said. “It’s the ones you really can control. I’m sure I’ll get people disagreeing with me here, but holding, you’re probably going to get a couple a game on both sides. It happens. Pass interference, the one down in the end zone the other night that we got right before the half, it was a bang-bang. If you slow it down and look at it, we were there a little early. Those things you’re going to get.

“It’s the stuff like we pick a pass and hit somebody behind a play which is basically an automatic personal foul no matter what. No matter how hard you hit him, no matter where you hit him, it’s behind the ball. We call it a defenseless player.”

The offensive line has been guilty of several false starts during the season and the defensive line also has committed several penalties many games.

“And then we all saw it, the false starts on offense and defense,” Pittman said. “Those are the ones that are coaching. We have to get that fixed. We had several in the first half. One of them was strictly, and it’s happened to me when I was an O-Line coach, Ricky (Stromberg) is making a call. He’s making what we call a down call. We know nose is going to cross face. We’ve got a little gap scheme going. He’s making a down call the same time KJ’s (Jefferson) calling for the ball. Those, we don’t want them to happen but I can see those happening.

“The ones where we just forget the snap count or we’re early, they have to stop. And the ones where we look at the football. We work on it all the time. Cody (Kennedy) has kept them after practice, and we’re going to do it again this week. We’ve started clapping when we’re doing our ball drills in individual and different things, but until we can get disciplined enough, we’re going to emphasize it again big time. Because if we’re going to get beat, let’s have somebody beat us. To give them things, that was what was so frustrating in the first half, and with them scoring at the very end, we had to fight the feeling at halftime of we’re behind. Because I was frustrated. To answer your question, we work on them. But they have to get fixed, or we’ve got to get players in there that can fix it.”

Arkansas will be at LSU on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. with the game televised on the SEC Network.

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