FAYETTEVILLE — It wasn’t that long ago that coaches tried to redshirt as many of the true freshmen as they could.
But then the rule was put in place to allow a college football player to enter the NFL Draft after three years out of high school. Sam Pittman is set to begin his first season as head coach at the University of Arkansas and offered up his philosophy on redshirting players.
“You know, used to I was concerned about redshirting guys and develop guys and all that, but I’ve had so many guys leave in three years, you know, that I think we’re going to err on the side of playing them, you know,” Pittman said. “Get them out there, play them.
“Obviously there’ll be those three or four guys, and once you get to that four — in a normal year — once you get to that fourth game you’re going, ‘Hey, you know,’ but I’m going to err on if I’m halfway close as a young guy to a guy that’s a little bit older, I’m going to err on playing the young guy because I think he’ll pass the older guy. We know what he’s been able to do. And of course, we don’t know that necessarily right now about our old team, but we will in the future. But I’m kind of the guy that wants to play whoever I think can help us, regardless of our age, so I don’t know if it’ll really make a big difference or not, to be honest with you.”
The NCAA now allows a player to participate in four games and still retain his redshirt. That allows coaches to also see a player in some games before making a firm decision on redshirt or not.
In Chad Morris’ last recruiting class, Arkansas signed 23 freshmen. The ones who played more than four games were and thus didn’t redshirt were defensive back Greg Brooks Jr., wide receiver Treylon Burks, defensive end Collin Clay, wide receiver Trey Knox, defensive end Mataio Soli, offensive lineman Ricky Stromberg and defensive end Zach Williams. Clay has since transferred to Oklahoma State.
Arkansas will return to the practice fields today for a scrimmage.