FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas is preparing this week to meet UAPB in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Sam Pittman talked about playing in Little Rock this weekend against an in-state opponent.
“We’re excited to get over to Little Rock and play,” Pittman said. “I’m trying to get the history of Little Rock and playing over there to our kids. I’m going to try to educate them as much as I can about the games over in Little Rock. I think last year was the first time since 1931 that we didn’t have a game over there in Little Rock, and I know in ’48 they started playing two and three per year and things of that nature. I think it’s what makes Arkansas, Arkansas. That we’ve been willing to take the team to the central part of the state, and I certainly remember when that happened when I was in high school. It happened a little bit when I was here as an assistant coach. We’re excited to play Pine Bluff. Doc Gamble has done a nice job with their team. They have good skill. They’ve had some injuries as well. We’re excited to get over there and see the fans in Little Rock.”
After having played four SEC games in a row does Pittman fear the 4-3 Razorbacks could overlook a 1-5 UAPB team that hasn’t won since opening day?
“I think we have to be smart with our team a little bit,” Pittman said. “Just the way we’ll practice and approach practice. I think we can keep the team involved in the opponent. We always go shells on Monday, and we’re not. We’re just too beat up right now, and we’ve got to get some players back. I don’t want them back for Mississippi State. I want them back for this weekend. I want them back for Pine Bluff. We probably won’t practice as lengthy as what we had. I know we won’t practice quite as physical as we had because we just don’t have enough depth to do that right now. We would do it whether we were playing Auburn or playing Arkansas Pine Bluff. We don’t really have a choice. We’ve got to be smart with our team. That’s certainly not being soft, that’s being smart. I don’t think we’ll have much of a problem getting ready and those things. A lot of times when you have some injuries, the new guy coming in certainly doesn’t have a problem getting ready because it’s his opportunity. I think we’ll be fine there.”
The game against UAPB will be the first for Arkansas in several years.
“Well it says right here my friend that we haven’t played an in-state since 1944 is the last time we did,” Pittman said. “And even as old as I am I wasn’t born at that point, so I think it’s a big deal. Obviously we’re playing Arkansas State in I believe in five years in 2025 I believe. So I know for years … it’s not good — they say it’s not good for the University of Arkansas. But at that point in time if we haven’t turned our program around enough to do well in these type games then it’ll probably be a new guy talking about it. It’s exciting. I think it’s exciting for the state. I really am. I mean it. I’m excited to get over to Little Rock and I’m sure there’ll be a lot of fans over there. I haven’t said much about the history of it but 1944 is a long time ago.”
On Dec. 1, 1944, Arkansas defeated Arkansas-Monticello 41-0. Pittman was asked if he anticipates getting to play a lot of players on Saturday?
“Lord willing we will,” Pittman said. “That’s not the plan. The plan is go play as good as we can. Certainly if something happened it would be good for the guys who haven’t had opportunities, but we’re going in like it’s going to be a barn burner. But we’re going in like it’s really going to be a competitive game. They do so many things. I mean they play two quarterbacks, they try to block every single punt which as you guys know is scary. I don’t know. They play hard. They’ve had some injuries that have hurt them. They had a really nice right tackle that got hurt. They have some speed. They went to the championship game in the spring. They’ve lost some games here this year. But Doc will have them ready I’m positive.”
Arkansas and UAPB will kickoff at 11 a.m. and televised on the SEC Network.