FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has spent much of the season playing a three-man front on defense, but switched to a four-man against Auburn.
Sam Pittman feels Barry Odom is comfortable with multiple fronts even in the same game. Against Auburn, Odoms started Tre Williams and Eric Gregory at the ends, John Ridgeway and Isaiah Nichols inside. Some other linemen who played are ends Jashaud Stewart, Mataio Soli and Zach Williams and then Marcus Miller and Taurean Carter inside.
“What Barry does, he tries to figure out what we think we can do to stop them per that week,” Pittman said. “And yeah, I think so. With (Markell) Utsey being out, that puts us one less D-lineman. But I think we’ll have the same amount of rotation guys we had last week. So I think we’ll just be multiple. I think you’ll see a bunch of different fronts this weekend.”
Utsey remains out this week, but the Hogs are hopeful he returns for Mississippi State in two weeks. Who has graded out well on the line in recent weeks?
“D-line-wise, it just kind of depends on what game you’re talking about,” Pittman said. “Ridge played a little bit better last week than he did against Ole Miss. I don’t know that we felt that we really played well at all there. We didn’t get much pressure, things of that nature. As a unit, we have to play better than what we have. I think we have played better. Going back to Texas A&M and Texas and Georgia Southern and Rice, I think the D-line has played better. But I think we’ll get back again with Ridge, and Utsey and those guys. They’ve been beat up, so I think once we get those guys back healthy. I think Ridge will be healthy this weekend. ‘Uts,’ probably another week out before he does. We haven’t played as well there over the last two weeks as we did earlier in the year, and we’ve got to get back to that.”
In recruiting, Arkansas has two defensive line commitments. Greenland’s JJ Hollingsworth, 6-4, 257, and Maumelle’s Nico Davillier, 6-5, 270.