DALLAS — No. 10 Arkansas will take on Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday night in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The Aggies are ranked No. 23 in the nation and are slight favorites over the Hogs. Arkansas is 3-0 including 1-0 in the SEC while the Aggies are 2-1 having lost 17-14 to App State in overtime. Fisher is impressed with how well the Razorbacks are coaches.
“Now we’re going to play a very good Arkansas team,” Fisher said. “Sam Pittman’s done a great job with those guys. I have a lot of respect for Sam as an individual and as a head coach. I think he does a great job. I really like Sam and I consider him a friend and a really good guy and a good coach.”
In addition to Pittman, Fisher is impressed with the coordinators Pittman has. Kendal Briles heads the offense, Barry Odom defense and Scott Fountain special teams.
“Coach Briles does a great job on offense and they do a phenomenal job on defense,” Fisher said. “Their packages are different, four-down, three-down. The addition of the new players on defense with Dwight McGlothern, Drew Sanders. Those front guys on defense have really made a difference. Drew can rush, he plays everywhere. Him and Bumper Pool, man, they lead that defense in tackles and play everywhere.
“The secondary, they’re getting guys healthy and getting back on the field. They had a lot of starters that were out, so they’ll be even stronger than they have been on film. Their special teams are very good. Scott Fountain does a phenomenal job there. Barry on defense, and Scott on special teams, so they’re well coached. They’re a top 10 team for a reason and we’re going to have to play one heck of a football game to have a chance.”
Sanders and Bumper Pool have combined for 56 tackles, six sacks, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles (both by Sanders). That pair of linebackers have Fisher’s attention
“Well it is,” Fisher said. “Barry does a great job. He’s tweaked a lot of little things, a lot of little turns and things and unitizes his people different. His scheme, the foundation of it is the same, but Barry knows how to use his people and he moves them around, he gets them in things. I have a lot of respect for Barry as a coach. He does a great job and he puts those guys in position to make a lot of plays and they do.”
LSU transfer cornerback Dwight McGlothern has nine tackles, two interceptions and a pair of pass breakups. Fisher talked about what makes McGlothern so good.
“I think first, it’s his instincts,” Fisher said. “He’s very instinctive. He’s long, he’s athletic, he has really good ball skills. He can see the ball, judge the ball, uses his length and size to get up on you and man you. For a big guy, he plays off coverage very well. Like the first pic he had in the Cincinnati game, when Cincinnati was driving down early in that game on about the 20 yard line and he stepped in front from an off coverage. A lot of guys who are big and long have a harder time playing off. He doesn’t. He’s done a really nice job.”
OU transfer Jadon Haselwood is second on the team with 13 receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Fisher likes the former five-star recruit who has developed into a very good college receiver.
“I’ll tell you what, he’s very diverse,” Fisher said. “I know they’re trying to do a lot of things with him like (Treylon) Burks, and he has that ability. He’s physical, he’s long, he’s got hands to play underneath. All the different motions and things they can do with him. He’s just a really, really good footbal (player). It wouldn’t be surprising to me if he could go be a heck of a defensive back. One of those guys that could play on both sides of the ball, has ball skills, tough, just a really good football player.”
The kickoff is set for 6 p.m. on ESPN Saturday night.