Arkansas’ Sam Pittman Likes Recruiting Advantages of Playing in Fayetteville, But Embracing Little Rock Trip

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Photo by Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE — In its last five games counting Saturday’s upcoming matchup with UAPB the Hogs will have played three home games, but only one in Fayetteville.

The Razorbacks beat Texas A&M in Arlington at AT&T Stadium, lost at both Georgia and Ole Miss and then fell to Auburn in Reynolds Razorback Stadium last weekend. The game at War Memorial Stadium is also considered a home game for Arkansas. How hard is it to have home games, but still have to travel?

“I think there’s a reason to ask the question,” Pittman said. “We go to Dallas, and even though it was a home game this year, we could give tickets but we couldn’t talk to anybody. Same thing when you go to Little Rock, you can’t talk to any recruits. Certainly, it’s not good for recruiting. Let’s say that. The other thing is, you’ll want to have as many people as you possibly can in the stands to help you win. The other things is you’re on the road no matter how you look at it. You can say ‘H’ is for home, but you’re on the road. I’ll say this, having two in the same year is hard. Especially when it’s supposed to be we walk right out here. If we could cut that down to one, or so, that would be a lot better. It is what it is.

“I want to say this, we’re going to embrace Little Rock. We really are. I think some coaches are wondering why are we going over there. Not ours, but why are we going over there? Well hell, we’re going over there because people in Little Rock want us to go over there. We’re going to come over there and we’re going to have a good time. We need to go over there and win. When I was here before, I think we lost two out of three maybe over there or something. We need to go over there and win and put on a show for the fine folks in Central Arkansas.”

Another obstacle in recruiting has been this will be the fourth consecutive 11 a.m. game for the Hogs. That makes it harder to get recruits to campus for visits especially if they live longer distances away.

“I see them on the sidelines, but I don’t get to see all of the kids I’d like to see because you never have any pregame type situation where you have all day where I could come back to campus and see some kids and things of that nature,” Pittman said. “The 11 a.m. (starts) are hard on that. Then the kids want to get back home after the game. Yeah, it’s made it a little more difficult, especially with four in a row. We already alluded to two of those are home games and they’re not very beneficial for recruiting.”

While in Little Rock this week some assistants will be on the road to watch some recruits play. Pittman talked about that as well.

“Yeah, we’re getting out,” Pittman said. “Not everybody. I think we’ll probably have about four coaches on the road. I won’t be one of them this weekend. Next Friday I will be. I spent a day in the area last Friday, I believe. Last Friday morning I was able spend a day locally and I’ll be able to get out next Friday. We’ve been sending out some coaches in areas on Fridays for probably the last four or five weeks. Didn’t do it early just to makes sure the team was ready to roll, but I think we’re pretty used to it right now.”

Pittman knows that being able to recruit central Arkansas is a must for the program. Of Arkansas’ 18 commitments for the Class of 2022 six come from that area. One from Little Rock Parkview, one at Joe T. Robinson, two from Maumelle and another pair from Clarendon. They also have a talented preferred walk-on linebacker from Pulaski Academy

“Very,” Pittman said. “The more the better, to be honest with you. If we’re going to over-recruit, it would be our state. If you’re going to sit there and go, ‘Well, maybe. I think so,’ but we know more about him, his heart, this, that and the other, we’re going to offer the guy in the state of Arkansas. Sometimes you offer a kid and whoever goes, ‘Wow. I didn’t see that.’ It’s just if we’re going to take a chance … the ones that we get out of the state, we want to go, ‘We’re right.’ The ones in-state, we want to be right on those as well, but we also take a few more chances there, including the walk-on program. I think any time you have 8-10 guys in your state that you want on the football team, I think that sure helps you tremendously with the whole recruiting process.”

Kickoff Saturday is set for 11 a.m. and televised on the SEC Network.

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