FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman met with the media following Arkansas’ second and final scrimmage leading up to the spring game on April 17.
Pittman felt the defense was ahead of the offense since the team had been off for eight days due to spring break before resuming practice on Thursday.
“Well we had a lot of situational football today,” Pittman said. “Finishing with get the ball back and two minute. Had a second and 10, third down script. I liked the defense seemed to win most of the situations. We were on a discretionary week, a spring break week and came back and practiced on Thursday. So we were basically off from the practice field for eight days and I felt like it showed on our offense, with the accuracy of throws and hanging onto the ball, jumping offsides. We didn’t play very smart football today on the offensive side of the ball. But some of that, I expected it. We certainly aren’t sitting here going We’re happy that it happened. But there are some reasons behind some of the situations that happened today.”
One of the plays that hurt was a 75-yard touchdown pass from KJ Jefferson to Mike Woods that was called back due to an ineligible receiver downfield. Another penalty for the same thing brought back another play.
“The O-lineman downfield a lot of our plays are where the line runs seem like we were holding, usually you will see a mesh, read and throw,” Pittman said. “Therefore your linemen don’t get downfield past the three-yard mark. Today it was a read, mesh, wait and throw. Basically that’s going to happen with inexperienced quarterbacks. It’s going to take them a little bit longer than what maybe Feleipe (Franks) would have had for his reads and getting the ball out of his hands. There’s really nothing you can do as a lineman. You don’t know where he handed the ball off or not. Some of those are very unfortunate.”
The true freshman was 6-8 passing (unofficial) for 68 yards and a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Lee. He also had a 19-yard run.
“I think he did improve from last week,” Pittman said. “He’s getting a little bit more confident. Overall the accuracy of our quarterbacks isn’t very good at all right now. We certainly have to be able to throw and catch it. I thought he got better.”
Touchdown T.J. Hammonds
The first score of the scrimmage was running back T.J. Hammonds going 73 yards around right end for a touchdown. On the day, Hammonds carried twice for 75 yards.
“You know, I think T.J. had a nice run,” Pittman said. “I wish we’d be more physical, you know. At times we are. I wish we’d be more consistent, downhill physical. But T.J. did well on that, broke out a long run on that. Dominique Johnson had a nice little touchdown run down there in the red area. But we’re not consistent, you know. Obviously with Malik (Hornsby) and the running backs, we put two, maybe three balls on the ground just in a mesh. Nobody hit anybody. We beat ourself. We’re going to lose, somebody better beat us. We better not beat ourself. So, those things have to be corrected, but I just wish that we were consistently physical at the running back position, and I thought we were before the break so we’ve got to get that fixed.”
Safety Simeon Blair had an interception during the scrimmage. Pittman seemed to like what he saw from the defensive backs.
“They’ve been playing well in practice as well, you know,” Pittman said. “Any time you can what you do in individual and you can do it as well or better in a team setting, to me that’s when you become a good player. A lot of guys look good over in individual, this, that and the other, blocking bag, breaking on air, all these type things. But what those guys have done, they’ve been able to take what they’re doing in individual each day and you guys see them out there every day. And they’re starting to do that in a game setting in a team setting. Any time you can do that, you’ve turned yourself into a fine football player. And the secondary’s doing that right now.”
Luke Jones First Team
Luke Jones was working with the first unit at left guard on Saturday. Pittman talked about what he has seen from Jones.
“I’m glad to see Luke is getting an opportunity with the ones,” Pittman said. “There’s an ongoing battle there with (Brady) Latham, him, and it’s a good battle. We’ll end up having two really good players playing there. I thought we protected a lot better than what we had last week. Seemed like we were holding a little bit more today than what we did last week, too. That has something to do with not getting to the quarterback.”
Jones transferred to Arkansas from Notre Dame prior to the 2019 season and redshirted. He was a back-up guard last year who saw considerable action. The former Pulaski Academy standout was highly recruited out of high school.
JJ Hollingsworth Present
Greenland defensive end JJ Hollingsworth, 6-4, 257, was at the scrimmagewith his family. Hollingsworth is a solid commitment to the Hogs.