FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas last played a home football game on Saturday, Sept. 16, and though that one didn’t end like they wanted they now get a chance to play several at home in the next month.
It starts with Mississippi State at 11 a.m. on Saturday and televised on ESPN. Sam Pittman and the Hogs went 0-4 on the trip. Pittman talked about playing the four SEC games on the road.
“Well, you can play away from home,” Pittman said. “It all depends a little bit about who you’re playing. I think on the road we played some really good teams. Obviously, nationally ranked teams and things of that nature. We caught some breaks because we didn’t play every one of them at night. What did we play two of them at night? At night at LSU. Was Ole Miss at night as well? The difficult part about playing on the road is obviously the noise, which is our advantage on Saturday morning. When you’re trying to develop kids that haven’t played much ball, especially offensively where you’re trying to build some confidence in guys who haven’t played. Then you go into a venue like that where really all you’re thinking about is can you hear the snap count.
“You’re trying to grow from that and those things. Probably if we had a veteran offensive line, it might have been a better stretch for us. Obviously, we didn’t win any of the games, so that would be the biggest disappointment. However, I do think we’re getting a little bit better, and we have four of the next five at home. We still have some of our goals left that we had at the beginning of the year. But that’s a hard stretch, and I wish we could have made a dent in the win column on that. But I do think our team is better than we were when we last played at home.”
Pittman knows the Hogs will get Mississippi State’s best shot. Mississippi State (3-3, 0-3), like the Hogs, is looking for the first SEC win of season.
“Very physical team,” Pittman said. “They’ve had some injuries as well. We don’t know exactly who they are going to play at quarterback or running back, but they have capable backups at either place. The problem is at quarterback they are totally two different types of offenses we have to prepare for. We had to do that some anyway because they’re playing both quarterbacks quite a little bit. It’s just different now knowing Will (Rogers) got hurt. Hopefully he’s fine, but we don’t know where that is.
“Defensively, they’re all over the place. A lot of movement. A lot of blitzing. A lot of different movements. You can kind of categorize them, but a lot of zone coverage. A lot of fire-zone principal blitz. They play extremely hard. We’re looking forward to… We drove by the grass here. Man, it’s as green as can be. Best it’s ever looked, We haven’t been here in 30-something days. It’s good to get back home. We’re looking forward to it and hope the crowd will come out and help us get a win.”
Mike Wright is more of a running quarterback though Pittman praised what he can do with his arm as well.
“He throws better than I want him to,” Pittman said. “He can throw the football. He’s fast. Obviously, they’ll run him with run-designed plays for him. Not just read plays where he can have the opportunity to keep it. Run a lot of fly sweeps with him, with the opportunity to pitch or keep. Right now, they’re reading the defensive end, and allowing him to run or hand it off. Running the nakeds and letting him throw a little bit out of that. He did throw more against Western Michigan than he had before. But I think he got more opportunity as well, which proved he would throw the ball as well. And we saw at Vandy he could to.”
Arkansas continued practice on Tuesday.