PTN’s Ask Mike Segment: 12-16-19

Ask Mike

Mike Irwin answers this week’s batch of fan questions from Hogville.net about new Head Coach Sam Pittman, the football program’s future and the Men’s basketball team.

Our first question comes from Dr. Starcs who says: One of my biggest concerns with Coach Pittman is how he will handle game situations, clock management, etc. Do you have any insight on how he will deal with this? Do you have have any suggestions on how he should?

One of his close friends Barry Odom is on the staff. He’s been a head coach. I’m guessing they’ll talk a lot about game management. But nobody knows how he will handle it until he has to handle it. Do I have any suggestions? Yeah,…don’t listen to somebody like me. I’ve never been a coach of any kind.

PorkSoda observes: Pittman mentioned people might be surprised at who was expressing interest in coaching with him at Arkansas.Do you think that Pittman is going to go after some big name hires for OC/DC or do you think he is going to fill those positions with guys he has coached with in the past.

His defensive coordinator is Barry Odom. He was available because he was fired as the head coach at Missouri. He’s a proven coordinator but that wasn’t a surprise hire. If Pittman takes an offensive coordinator away from a top ten, top 15 team that would be a surprise. Just have to wait and see if he pulls off any shockers.

Lanny wants to know:Is there any difference with the current players compared to when Morris was hired?

I assume you’re talking about the talent level, yeah it’s better but it’s also younger. Really good group of sophomores next year. A decent junior class. We’ll have to see about to incoming freshmen. Average senior class. The key immediately though is to get more out of what they have. That won’t be hard to do. The coaching was bad the last two years.

Oklahawg says: Curious if Bielema sent a congratulatory message or hand-written letter.

An obvious reference to the bad blood between those two that led Pittman to leave and take a job at Georgia. He joked at his press conference that his wife almost divorced him over that. I have to assume that given Pittman’s love for Arkansas he had to have been really really angry at the time. But here’s something to chew on. If Pittman had stayed would Bielama still be here? I don’t think Pittman had a clue… that by leaving he had set in motion a series of events that would eventually get him his dream job. Life works that way sometimes.

Kevin says: Heard Coach Pittman on finebaum say that Hunter called him on Sunday morning. Will, we ever get the real story of how this coaching search went down ?

Matt Campbell. Mike Norvell. Mike Leach.
Based on what I’ve been told Yurachek wanted Lane Kiffin. Had a verbal agreement with him. His agent Jimmy Sexton tried to get Arkansas into a bidding war with Ole Miss. Yuracheck withdrew his offer. He did a Lunney interview and was totally shocked at Lunney’s presentation. He had his total budget maped out. A detailed plan to revamp recruiting. Told Yuracheck who his staff would be including the names or both coordinators. And at that point he had the job. But the BOT and some boosters objected. Said Lunney couldn’t sell tickets. At that point Yuracheck contacted Pittman. That was on Sunday. And as Pittman said, things went really fast after that because Yurachek really, reallly liked him. The BOT agreed. This was one of things where Yurachek stumbled into the right guy at the end of a long process.

BILLYBOB asks: What will the policy be regarding the press being allowed to watch practice? Will he (I hope) open it up more than the last 3 Head Coaches?

The only time we’ve talked to Coach Pittman was at his opening press conference. The subject did not come up. Bielema was more open than Morris but I have no idea if that’s something that Pittman agreed with. I don’t think he and Bielema agreed on much. I will say this, Whether he’s totally open or completly closed or somewhere in between…I don’t think most fans care. They just want to win games. As for the media, we’ll adjust to whatever the policy is.

Stu asks: What has surprised you the most (good or bad) about Pittman since being named the head coach?


The overwhelming support for the hire on social media. For whatever reason most of those fans were opposed to the Lunney hire because he had not been a head coach. They don’t have the same issue with Pittman who has also never been a head coach. That’s probably because of his status as one of the top recruiters in college football and the fact that they believe Pittman will fix the O-line problems. I also think Pittman won over a huge chunk of the fan base when he choked up with emotion in front of the fans the day after he was hired. He wanted the
job.

Hawgey-Davidson wants to know: Considering the offensive players on campus, what is his offensive philosophy going forward from year 1 to say year 3-4 once he cycles thru current roster?

I can only go by what he’s said so far. Initially an RPO offense similar to what they have run the past two years. Once he beefs up the O-Line Pittman said he might play what he called some “bully ball” ….that is line up and run over people LATE IN GAMES when they have a two TD lead or more….to burn up clock time. Arkansas did that to Texs Tech in Lubbock when Pittman was the O-line coach at Arkansas. Texas Tech ended up having three offensive possession in the entire second half. Incredible.

hogsmash12 wants to know: Has Pittman spoken to Rakeem Boyd about returning next year? If so, which way is Boyd leaning?

There’s no word that he has but he almost certainly will. Common logic dictates that Boyd is probably gone. He’s going to be drafted high enough that going pro at this point would be hard to turn down. But the fact that he hasn’t already declared for the draft is interesting. Maybe Pittman can talk him into staying. If he does that would be bigger than landing a five star recruit.

SwineSalesman says: You mentioned a prominent coordinator contacted the U of A and was told “we were too far along to start the process with a new candidate”. With the reports about Dave Aranda wanting a HC position and his talks with UNLV for their opening is it safe to assume he was that coordinator?

I wasn’t given a name but I’d say that’s a pretty good guess. It lines up right.

Midway642 asks: Looking at the schedule for 2020 what is your prediction for Arkansas record? If they endure another 2-10 season what will the fallout be?

Not into predictions but even though the schedule is tougher I’m gonna say flat out they’re not gonna go 2-10 again. There was never any excuse for that. Sam Pittman will put together a better staff. These players will get coached better. I think they’ll win four games minimum

Okay let’s go to some basketball questions.
CowHog32 asks: Mike, why do you think Henderson isn’t getting more PT in the non-conference games? He seems to bring good energy and is a good rim protector. Would love to see him get 15+ min a game.

He’s still raw. Musselman is bringing him along slowly. When you see him it’s almost always because he’s had a really good week of practice. He’ll play more. Be patient.

HoggusMaximus wants to know: What do you think the hogs record will be going into the postseason. Do you think the hogs make it to the ncaa tourney?

10-2. Hard time beating Indiana at Indiana although it was a 3 point game in the NIT last year with most of these same players.
Indiana is 10-1. Beat a ranked Florida State team by 16. Got hammered by Wisconsin though and they’re 5-5. As far as the NCAA tournament, I’d take a stab and say they’ll get in if they keep playing the way they are right now.

PorkSoda is back with a hoops question. He asks: What were the recruiting needs in Basketball, and how well do you think Musselman has addressed them so far?

Needed size. Got it in Jaylin Williams, an athletic 4 star big man out of FS Northside. He’s having a great season so far. His recruiting class is currently top 5 so yeah, he’s addressed future needs really well IF THEY SIGN..

The_Bionic_Pig says: Nevada averaged over 80 points per game last season for coach Musselman. Is that lack of a Daniel Gafford or Conner Vanover roaming the interior having that much effect on the shooters?

There have been a lot of theories about Arkansas lack of scoring most of it centered around the intense defense they’ve bene playing. But after Arkansas out if 98 points on a Tulsa team noted for its defense Musselman said he wants his guys to play at a faster pace. and he’s been encouraging it. However Mason Jones, who scored 41 in that game, said Tulsa ticked Arkansas off with trash talking. If that was the case then coach Muss needs to fgure out ways to tick his guys off before games.

ThreeNout wants a Razorback Memories question answered:

How much do you remember from the fistfight that broke out at a Razorback basketball game in the 70’s? I was just a kid and remember the call on the radio. I remember Sidney Moncrief was a handful to restrain and was taking guys out left and right.

Don’t think he actually took anybody out. The refs got on that thing pretty fast. I remember being shocked as how he just exploded. Had been getting bumped and hacked a lot. We found out he had a temper. The only real damage was to a fan that came out onto the floor and one of those big Aggies clocked him pretty good.

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THAT’S ALL OF OUR TIME FOR NOW. JOIN ME AGAIN NEXT MONDAY WHEN I’LL BE BACK TO ANSWER MORE OF YOUR QUESTIONS On Ask Mike.

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