FAYETTEVILLE — On Thursday, Sam Pittman’s Razorbacks started preparing for Rice who they will face on Saturday, Sept. 4, in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Pittman met with the media following Thursday’s practice and talked about the progress in camp.
“I really like the way everybody works,” Pittman said. “I like the urgency. We went probably practice maybe 10 through 12 where I was disappointed in our execution on offense. I didn’t think we were urgent enough in our demeanor. We certainly picked that up. Overall, it was really nice to get to today, which is our Monday practice for Rice. It’s just our typical Monday practice, what we do. Certainly, we believe in how we work the game weeks. This one will be a little bit different because we’ve added two days. So, I’m proud of the guys. There is a lot of green out there at practice, but we’ve come out fairly injury-free for the first game.”
With all the green protective jerseys at practice, do you expect to have most of them for Rice?
“I am,” Pittman said. “What we’re doing with those guys in green is we’re doing basically most of the scout work. Not all of them, but the majority of them, we’re doing scout work with them. If we’re going good on good, we’re holding them right now, but I expect for almost every one of them to be out of the green by Monday.”
The two players that PIttman expressed a little concern about with injuries are wide receiver Treylon Burks and punter Sam Loy.
“Well, I don’t know,” Pittman said. “They haven’t been at practice. I’m not for sure, I feel like they’re both going to be ready for Rice. Let’s say this: I feel better about Treylon being ready for Rice than possibly I do Sam. But that would be the only two guys really that there would be some type of concern about.”
Pittman gave a familiar answer when asked how the first day of Rice preparation went for the team.
“Every time y’all ask me a question about practice I always say it was great, but I’m not lying,” Pittman said. “Today was such a super practice. It was an hour and 40 minutes like we always do in shells on Monday. I thought our scout teams were excellent. I thought we ran to the ball. Scott (Fountain) and them had a really good plan for special teams. We executed that well. Our offense played well all day in the two-minute drill. Our defense got the better of the offense, both ones and twos. The bottom line is, we just have to do better there on offense. Get the ball out of our hands, get out of bounds when we need to. Other than that, I thought it was just about as good of a practice as we could have.”
Pittman was asked if he was confident in the offense being able to move the ball and score points consistently?
“Well I’m confident in our players,” Pittman said. “I’m confident in our coaches. We have to protect the football. But I’m confident we can stay out on the field and move down the field and score points.”
Now that players are on the scout team instead of getting some reps with the top unit or two how did they handle that?
“You know, we went scout switch a few times during practice in fall camp,” Pittman said. “Some of it was to look at Georgia Southern’s option type game. Some of it was to look at some stack defense, odd stack that we don’t see that often. So, we did switch some scouts at that point. Usually, I don’t think you would switch scouts before school starts, but we did probably three separate practices before this just to get them ready to go. We want our kids, every one of them, to earn that opportunity to run through that A. We’re going to dress out everybody who went through camp versus Rice. I want them to earn that right. I want them to feel proud and great about themselves when they run though that A, the scout team guys as well. Because at that point you’ve gone from I hope to I know. They need to be the reason we’re not saying, ‘I hope we win,’ but ‘I know we’re going to.’ I thought today they really did that.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields today for a closed practice. The mock game will also be closed.