FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman hired Barry Odom to coordinate his defense and then Kendal Briles to do same with the offense.
Now, after 14 games with the two, Pittman couldn’t be happier with their performance. The Hogs have scored 143 points in four games, including playing two nationally-ranked teams, and honestly could have scored more since they took a knee at end in some of the games. Pittman talked about Briles.
“Let’s talk about Kendal first,” Pittman said. “First of all, he’s fearless. I mean everything he calls he thinks is going to work. Everything. It’s not a question in his mind. They’re going to press (Treylon) Burks and KJ’s (Jefferson) going to throw a wonderful ball and he’s going to out-run everybody. I mean there’s not a question. It’s kind of neat to be on the headsets and hear him talking about pre-snap: ’This is a touchdown,’ you know. That’s kind of cool, No. 1. His offense is quarterback driven. So if the quarterback is playing well you’re going to make yards, assuming your line’s doing a good job and as long as he’s reading. We have the perfect guy for us in KJ that can throw it, that can run it. He’s a big guy that can hand it off. So … the thing I didn’t know about Kendal Briles when I hired him was what a wonderful person that he is. I’ve been very fortunate to be around him and learn things through him as well.”
While he didn’t know Briles, Pittman was very familiar with Odom and had been friends for a long time. Odom’s defense has only allowed 48 points in four games this season.
“Barry, they roll out there in whatever front that they want to do, depending on how they can win the football game,” Pittman said. “What’s happened is … you know I was talking to Tre Williams last week and he said, ‘You know it’s kind of amazing how we can line up in this look, that look, this look and all of us believe this is the way we’re going to stop our opponent if we’ll play hard, we’ll play fast and we’ll run to the football. So that’s a very unique ability that Barry and his staff on defense have to make our kids believe that whatever he decides or whatever they decide, whatever we decide is going to work. So it’s really cool. It has to work for the guys to buy in and it’s been working, really on both sides of the ball, really since both of those guys have been here.”
Pittman brought Scott Fountain to coordinate special teams and Jamil Walker for strength and conditioning from Georgia with him. He is also elated with the jobs they are doing.
“Jamil and the staff that he brought with him wasn’t quite as difficult because we were going to give him a heavy raise, and he was going to run the program,” Pittman said. “He was the No. 2 guy over there. … And Kirby certainly understood that.
“Scott’s was a deal that I was a little surprised that Scott decided to come at the time. But I’m very happy he did. I don’t know what his conversation with Coach Smart was or anything of that nature, but certainly was happy that he decided to come over.”
No. 8 Arkansas will hit the practice fields today as they continue to prepare for Saturday’s game against No. 2 Georgia. The game will kickoff at 11 a.m. and televised on ESPN.