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Former Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman makes his head coaching debut against Georgia next Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark.

Sam Pittman kicking off Arkansas football with cookies, charisma and Catfish Hole coachspeak

ATHENS — Sam Pittman is right at home settling in at a place called “The Catfish Hole” in Fayetteville, Ark., for his head coaching show.

The former Georgia offensive line coach is as well-liked and well-traveled as they come, and this is the start of his head coaching legacy.

The 58-year-old Pittman has no head coaching experience or coordinator experience at the college level.

But, he was the one coach the Razorbacks’ power brokers could agree on that would accept the most challenging head coaching job in the SEC.


Pittman shared preseason coach-speak with on the scene, overlooking a menu that in addition to mudcat features frog legs, okra and homemade fried pie.

“We don’t take reps at practice — these are game situations to us,” Pittman said, determined to set a tone for a program that’s at its lowest point in 127 years of Razorback football.

“Every play has to be like it’s going to be in the football game.”

Pittman can only hope the results are different than the recent Arkansas contests.

The Hogs coming off back-to-back 2-10 seasons, losers of 19 straight SEC games dating back to a 38-37 win over Ole Miss in 2017.

The Razorbacks haven’t won a home game against an SEC opponent since shocking then-No. 10 ranked Florida, 31-10, on Nov. 5, 2016. The win came amid a 7-6 campaign in Bret Bielema’s penultimate season at the helm.

So now it’s on Pittman, with help from former Missouri head coach and current Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom, to somehow get the Razorbacks turned around.

Pittman, like his former boss Kirby Smart,  has appealed to his players’ pride and sense of duty to give maximum effort.

“If we have our fans come to the game and they leave, what do you want them to say about us?” Pittman said, per the report.

“It would be execution, it would physical, how hard we play, how disciplined we are — I didn’t say it, (the players) did.

“We’re trying to breed confidence in our team, but the fundamental, sound values in your program are what get us to be able to compete with Georgia; that’s running to the ball, tackling, blocking, physicalness, discipline.”


The word that’s missing — in Pittman’s speeches as well as the reality of Arkansas football — is “talent.”

Here’s a look at the past five recruiting classes, that make up the players on the roster, and where they ranked among SEC teams (national rank in parenthesis):

2016: 9th (23rd)

2017: 10th (27th)

2018: 14th (45th)

2019: 10th (23rd)

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