FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman has a very experienced team entering his second year as head coach of the Razorbacks.
Thus, fewer true freshmen may play than normally would. Prior to Wednesday’s practice, Pittman named the true freshmen one could expect to see on Saturday when Rice comes to town.
“Let’s see, (linebacker Chris) Pooh Paul, he may play some,” Pittman said. “In the secondary we talked about Jayden (Johnson). Wide receiver we talked about Ketron Jackson. Maybe Bryce Stephens. On the O-line, we’re probably not quite there yet, but they’re good players. Of course you have AJ Green. AJ’s looked better in practice. Rocket (Sanders). Those are two freshmen (running backs). I believe that’s probably it.”
It’s obvious that kicker Cam Little, who is a true freshman, slipped Pittman’s mind when naming the ones to play. Little is sitting atop the depth chart for field goals and point after touchdowns.
With teams going back to a regular 12-game schedule once again a school can play someone four games and maintain their redshirt year. Pittman talked about his philosophy whether to play them in early games or save for later in season.
“I think you have to play them whenever you can,” Pittman said. “It’s two-fold. One, you may not get an opportunity later on in the year, I mean if you get an opportunity to early in the year. And then the other thing is when you play them early, you’ll know more about if you should redshirt them or if you shouldn’t. I understand you learn those things at practice too, but some guys just show up better and some guys show up worse when the lights are on. I like to play them as early as possible if you ever get that opportunity and see how they look out there, then decide a little bit later about the redshirt.”
Pittman said the team will be at 93% soon as he explained the process of getting the COVID vaccine.
“Well, totally vaccinated has not, in the process of being vaccinated has,” Pittman said. “We’re right at 93%, 100% of our staff. Of that 93%, some of those still have a few days before they’re considered fully vaccinated. To be honest with you, we had about 70 when we got back in this summer. Basically, we talked to them about what the SEC (forfeits). We knew way before yesterday that was what was going to happen, you just forfeit. So, all I did was just mention it to the kids. Of course, they have to decide if they’re going to do it or not. But I mentioned it to the kids, and about three or four days later, we had 30 more that had started the vaccination process.”
Pittman explained they will be at 93 when the three finish their vaccines.
“No, we’re a little over 90%,”Pittman said. “I think it’s 91% fully vaccinated. Then we have another 3 that are in the process right now that have had their first shot or their last shot, depending on if it was J&J or it was Pfizer. When their timetable comes up, we’ll be at 93.”
Is it realistic to get to a 100%?
“Well, it’s up to the kids,” Pittman said. “Certainly we’re trying to educate at all times. There are some teams that say they’re at 100% out there, so obviously it can be done. But for us, I don’t know, I’m proud that – I am – that we’re at 93% of at least starting that. And if we can get more that’d be awesome too.”