FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Earlier this week, Arkansas’ director of athletics Hunter Yurachek turned down an offer for the same job at Auburn.
Oddly enough, it was Auburn the Razorbacks beat 41-27 on Saturday. Yurachek did get a raise, but still remained at Arkansas for less money than offered by Auburn. Sam Pittman commented on that Wednesday and what it meant to him.
“Everything,” Pittman said. “That’s a man that practices what he preaches. To me, he already was powerful with all of us head coaches. For him to do exactly what, at times, he asks us to do, is powerful. I’m so glad that he’s staying. Obviously he’s the one who gave me my opportunity, but the old saying, ‘He practices what he preaches,’ that’s what he does and that shows what kind of man he is. To say I’m excited that he’s going to stay here would be an understatement. I have a lot of respect for him and Jennifer, and I mean what I’m saying. I’m ecstatic that he decided to stay.”
Arkansas will finish the non-conference portion of its regular season schedule on Saturday when No. 23 Liberty comes to Fayetteville.
Liberty is the third non-conference opponent to be ranked in the Top 25 this season. Cincinnati was No. 23 when they faced the Hogs on Sept. 3. BYU was unranked when they faced Arkansas, but had been ranked multiple weeks prior to playing the Hogs. BYU fell to Notre Dame the weekend before they hosted Arkansas and dropped out of the rankings.
Pittman was asked Wednesday if schedules should be made more adjustable since they are made far in advance?
“There are some schools that buy out contracts,” Pittman said. “I’ve never asked Mr. Yurachek to do that, but there are teams, if they see that they’ve got two or three top 25 teams, especially if you’re in the West, that’s not unheard of to buy some of those out.
“Obviously scheduling is tough. To get people to schedule you is hard. So I understand it whole-heartedly. I do. It just seems to me that we’ve been here three years and A, you have the West, and we’ve played Georgia twice. And so it just seems to me like we’ve had some difficult schedules. But, at the same time, we embrace those things.
“Like I say, the schedule is just the next game. If you look at it in totality, then sometimes you can go, ‘Wow!’ But if you just look at it game by game, it doesn’t look quite so impressive.”
As Pittman said the Hogs have played Georgia twice in three years. In 2023, they will go to Florida for the second time with him as head coach. In 2020, Pittman was recovering from COVID, but the Hogs went to Gainesville with Barry Odom serving as interim head coach. While they will go to Gainesville twice in four years and have played Georgia twice, the Hogs have yet to face Vanderbilt or Kentucky from the SEC East. It’s uncertain why Florida isn’t coming to Fayetteville in 2023 instead of Arkansas going there again. It will be the fourth time in the last five games against the Gators for it to be in Gainesville, Fla.
Cornerback Back, Another Recognized
Redshirt junior cornerback Malik Chavis was injured early against BYU and missed the Auburn game while still in concussion protocol. Pittman delivered some good news on Chavis Wednesday.
“Well, I think this will be my third week in a row that I said I think he’ll be ready to play,” Pittman said laughing. “Yesterday he ran like his hair was on fire. I mean, he was moving. He was happy. I can tell you that he’s officially, officially cleared. He’ll be able to play this week.”
In seven games, Chavis has eight tackles with two solo. The former Rison standout is competing with true freshman Quincey McAdoo for the starting spot at the cornerback opposite Dwight McGlothern. Pro Football Focus also had praise for McGlothern, who transferred in from LSU, this week. McGlothern leads all cornerbacks playing 344 snaps without allowing a touchdown. That is 24 snaps better than second-place Kool-Aid McKinstry from Alabama at 320.
“I think he’s adjusted well,” Pittman said. “He obviously has to be a more physical corner. I think Auburn went after him in the run game early last week. He’s getting better at that. But we’re real happy with Nudie, we’re really happy he’s on the team and he’s done an outstanding job for us.”