FAYETTEVILLE — Scott Fountain is the only returning coordinator on Sam Pittman’s staff this season.

Fountain coordinates the special teams. He returns Cam Little as the kicker, Max Fletcher to punt and Eli Stein as the long snapper. But it isn’t just special teams that Fountain is high on this season. On Sunday, Fountain said the team is the most talented since has been in Fayetteville.

“Yes, we certainly have more talent on the team than we’ve ever had had since I’ve been here,” Fountain said. “In the past we kind of pieced things together at times. This year I feel like we’ve really got some good players and of course we picked up a couple of more guys this summer so we’re still evaluating those as well. I really like where we’re at with our depth, especially the linebacker spot and at the skill spots at the defensive back position.”

In two seasons at Arkansas, Little has made 33 of 40 field goals with a long of 51 and has been perfect on 96 point after touchdowns. Despite all that, Fountain knows there is room for improvement with Little.

“What we’ve talked about from Day 1 is to be at 80 percent or better,” Fountain said. “He’s done that the last two years. I think he’s at about 83 percent in two years, This year, we’d love that number to get up and hit 90. I think if you can ever get the number to 90 you can talk about some opportunities for awards at the end of the season. What I like about Cam, last year we missed a field goal at Texas A&M, and he came right back and got on a streak of about six or seven field goals in a row. That’s what he brings to the table. He’s a very strong-minded young man, and I like the way he approaches the game.”

Little could add kickoff duties to his job list this season. Jake Bates handled those duties last season, but is now in the NFL.

“I think we’re in a good spot,” Fountain said. “Cam has had a really good spring, summer and I think the start of fall camp has been good. We also have Devin Bale who transferred here this spring who has a real shot. Then Blake Ford is another guy who has been on the team for a while. I think all three of those guys are going to have a real opportunity. I’m pleased with where they’re at. We’ve had Vito here, and we had Bates last year. They made a big difference. But I feel really good about those three guys, and whichever one is on the field can do a great job for us.”

Fountain was asked if he has any reservations adding more for Little to do?

“Honestly, I have no preference on that,” Fountain said. “When a kid is a freshman, to be able to come in and kick field goals and then take away those responsibilities is better. But I have no problem with it. I don’t think it dictates your performance one way or the other with field goal. I think in the world of field goal, kickoffs and punting, you have to be real careful.”

Little actually handled those duties in the Outback Bowl following the 2021 season when Vito Calvaruso entered the transfer portal prior to the game. At punter, Fletcher averaged 37.5 yards per punt on 38 attempts. He struggled with consistency.

“He had a really good spring and really good summer,” Fountain said. “We do a lot of charting in the summer as well, and I was really proud of him there. Today was our first day to punt live. I think out of his three punts, he hit what I’d call an A-ball. The second was a B-ball. So, two of the three were pretty decent balls. I think he’s headed in the right direction. When I was at Georgia, Jake Camarda was a punter we had there. Jake was a really good talent coming out, much like Max. His first year at Georgia he had an okay season but his second year was off the charts. So, I’m hoping to see Max do the same. I think that first year as a punter is a really tough task.”

Fountain also touched on areas where special teams can improve as a unit.

“First of all, kickoff return,” Fountain said. “Kickoff return in college football today has really turned into a deal where you don’t want to hurt your team. My approach the last two years, like the Ole Miss game two years ago that was 52-51, as the game went along, I said we just need to get the ball on the 25 and help our football team. We’ve done a lot of studying on kickoff return this offseason, and we’d like to be more productive there with the opportunities we get. We’d like to take a few more opportunities than what we’ve done in the past. You can sit back there and fair catch them all day with that rule, but we feel like we have some guys that have a chance to change the game. A big part of scouting report this offseason, we did a breakdown and felt like when we won the field position battle on special teams and our offense was getting in better position and our defense was as well, we won 75 percent of the games. That’s something we will be real conscious of this year to try and help our football team with our punt return and kickoff return unit.”

Arkansas will return to the practice fields on Monday morning.