Razorbacks 4-0

Razorbacks 4-0!

It’s time to start giving Sam Pittman his due. He is a seemingly soft spoken, midwestern gentleman who looms large in any room he walks in. He has coached all over the place. He has made his career coaching the offensive lines of ten division one programs. Apparently, folks are all too quick to overlook his football prowess. Rick Neuheisel commented that the reason why Arkansas has turned things around so quickly is due to the transfer portal. Coach Neuheisel is wrong. Its coaching. Its recruiting. Certainly, the transfer portal is a contributing factor to the success of any team, but it is not the sole reason for the Razorback turnaround. Emphasis on a winning culture and executing the fundamentals of football is the reason for Arkansas’s quick turnaround. Good coaches develop a culture of winning. Great coaches sustain that culture. Sam Pittman has already shown that he is a good coach. He has coached the Razorbacks to defeating two ranked rivals. Felling Texas and Texas A&M in the same season is a tall order for any team, and the Razorbacks accomplished the feat in Coach Pittman’s second year at Arkansas.

Razorbacks 4-0

Arkansas lit Jerry World on fire turning out seventeen points in the first sixteen minutes of play alone. Treylon Burks had a day. The 80-yard catch and run for a touchdown shocked the Aggies. Burks is a highlight reel all by himself totaling six catches for 167 yards and a touchdown. The Razorback defense lived in the Aggies backfield most of the game. The Aggies were only able to sustain two scoring drives on Saturday. The Razorback defense successfully corralled Texas A&M’s talented running back. Isaiah Spiller slashed the Razorback Defense for 11 yards during his first carry. Realizing his big play ability, the Razorbacks kept Spiller in check for the remainder of the game except for one big play. Spiller torched the Razorback defense for 67 yards and a touchdown towards the end of the third quarter.

The Razorback defense is very well coached. Consistent pressure from three defensive lineman freed up the back seven to execute excellent coverage. If the front three weren’t getting to the quarterback in the first 3 seconds, then the coverage frustrated the Aggies signal caller allowing the pressure of the Razorback defensive line to eventually get to him. The Razorbacks put on a clinic on how to execute the 3-3-5 defense against a high-power offense.

The Razorback offense slowed down significantly after the first quarter. This was in part due to mistakes, and in part due to the Aggies defense. At times the Razorback offense was a bit pass happy. They got away from their bread and butter of simply running the ball down the opposing team’s throat. The Razorback offense opened the 2nd quarter with a 48-yard touchdown pass. Then, the Razorback defense stuffed the Aggies in four plays. The Razorbacks had the momentum. Coach Briles dialed up 3 pass plays that all ended up as incomplete. He probably felt like big plays were getting it done so he tried to dial up three more. It didn’t work. The Razorbacks eventually returned to their smashmouth run game totaling 197 yards on the Aggie defense.

It was good to see KJ Jefferson return to the field in the fourth quarter to close the game out. He is a fighter. The team respects him. They need his leadership. When he went down, the Razorback offense struggled with Malik Hornsby at the helm. Still, Hornsby’s talent is evident and but for a dropped pass, he would have led a touchdown drive for the Razorbacks. For now, this is Jefferson’s team to lead. However, Hornsby is clearly the future. The coaching staff is going to have to do a better job prepping the offensive line to work with Hornsby in the coming weeks in case Jefferson goes down again.

Saturday’s game marks yet another signature win for Coach Pittman. He will be coaching against the Georgia Bulldogs next week. I am excited to see how this match up goes. I don’t have any illusions. Arkansas felled a top seven team. Taking down the number two team in the country is an even taller order. They might have the juice to do it. Razorback fans certainly hope so.

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