FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman has made no secret of the University of Arkansas being his dream job and Jonathan Marshall is pleased to be able to play for him.
Marshall is one of Arkansas’ four captains this season and a starting defensive tackle. He admits that Pittman’s love for this job is a boost to the team.
“Having somebody that loves the Razorbacks like him makes everyone a blue collar worker,” Marshall said. “Everyone loves coming to work, because we all know the passion that he has and we have for the team.
“It’s actually a great feeling, because we’ve got a head coach that loves the Razorbacks. We know he’s going to give it all and we’re going to give it all for him.”
The offensive linemen Marshall and the others on the Arkansas defensive line will face on Saturday were recruited to Georgia by Pittman. Pittman was the offensive line coach at Georgia from 2016-2019. Has he offered up any tips on how to attack them?
“Nah, none of that,” Marshall said. “But to be honest I’m kind of excited. It’s a great challenge for all the D-lineman on defense to go against these guys. They’ve been pretty good up front. It’s really a great opportunity and challenge. It’s gonna be a challenge for us.”
Marshall talked about how prepared the defense is for Georgia’s offense.
“Preparation is going pretty well,” Marshall said. “We just keep game planning. Trying to find calls we’re going to put in this week. So, I feel like it’s going pretty good.”
How has Barry Odom and Pittman’s preparation, organization, and communication been with all you guys?
“That’s a good question,” Marshall said. “It’s been really good so far. For the preparation and all that stuff they’ve been giving us to make us feel more confident. The better preparation the more confident you are. So they’re making us feel very confident about the preparation we’re getting.”
Marshall said he doesn’t set goals before games instead chooses a different motivation.
“It’s more of a game plan specific mindset,” Marshall said. “Because when you say goals, if you don’t hit the goals, it can bring the group down. So it’s more of a game plan mindset.”
Marshall is one of the four captains this season and will get his first career start on Saturday.
“Actually, it was an honor,” Marshall said. “Like Grant (Morgan) told you I really don’t speak much. So, them coming in seeing my work ethic and then voting me as a captain was really a blessing. Because not too many people get named captain and they don’t speak as much. It was really an honor.”
Marshall played a lot, but didn’t start earlier in his career. He talked about his time at Arkansas.
“The journey was a rollercoaster through that whole situation,” Marshall said. “You never know who you’re going to have. This is like my fourth position coach. It’s been pretty good. Grant is like my brother, though. We’re close to locker buds. It’s me and Rakeem (Boyd), but that’s my guy.”
There was many times leading up to this game and season that it didn’t appear a football season would be held due to COVID-19.
“With all the uncertainty we had, it was kind of sad,” Marshall said. “Because we want to play but now that we’re getting to play everyone is hyped up and ready to go. It’s good now. Everybody is loving it on game week. There’s no better feeling.”
Marshall has some talented redshirt freshmen behind him.
“Taurean Carter and Marus Miller both are looking very well, you know,” Marshall said. “When we’re in there it’s a competition between everybody to be honest. Because every one of us is doing well at this moment.”
Marshall was once committed to Oklahoma State out of Shepherd (Texas) High School. He switched to the Razorbacks. Marshall talked about what it was like it Shepherd.
“Coming from Shepherd, it was crazy coming from Shepherd,” Marshall said. “Coming to a place like this. The population of Shepherd is only 2,000 people. So coming here around a lot of people it makes you a little nervous at first.
“My home bringing was pretty good. Sports wise at Shepherd they used me to play everything. Country. It’s very country. I think it was one year everybody tried to drive lawnmowers to school for a senior prank.”
Which sports did you play in high school?
“I played baseball for a little bit,” Marshall said. “I threw shot put. Basketball and of course football.”
Could you dunk a basketball?
“Oh yes sir. I dunked my first time in the 8th grade,” Marshall said. “Then as I got older I got a little heavier, and I started getting more explosive so it was getting easier to be honest. The heavier I got, it was kind of awkward to be honest.”
Have you dunked lately?
“Yes sir, at the HYPER when it was open,” Marshall said. “But I haven’t really been since all this quarantine stuff.”
Marshall won’t be dunking on Saturday, but he hopes to make some big plays against a very talented Georgia offense.