FAYETTEVILLE – Asked specifically if he’s happy about his Razorbacks receivers not named Burks or Woods, Sam Pittman replied with a clever yeah, but…
“I guess the ones that aren’t named Woods and Burks, they probably need to get open a little bit faster if they want the ball,” Pittman said.
He did offer a quick qualifier. While sophomore Treylon Burks (26 catches for 366 yards and four touchdowns) and junior Mike Woods (18 catches for 220 yards and a touchdown) lead the team in catches, senior receiver De’Vion Warren stands second in team receiving yards, 253 with a touchdown off 12 catches going into the 2-3 Razorbacks’ 6:30 Saturday night SEC Network televised SEC game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium against the 2-3 Tennessee Volunteers.
Warren only added one catch, albeit a fourth-quarter 22-yarder from quarterback Feleipe Franks, in last Saturday’s 42-31 loss at now nationally No.7 Texas A&M.
Pittman wants Warren targeted more against Tennessee.
“I think we have to get the ball more to De’Vion Warren,” Pittman said before the Razorbacks practiced Thursday. “We certainly are aware he only touched the ball one time last week because he’s dynamic with the ball in his hands. “
Senior receiver Tyson Morris, the Helena native and Fayetteville High grad, did catch a 1-yard touchdown against A&M and has 4 catches for 39 yards, and sophomore receiver Trey Knox has 5 catches for 33 yards.
“Trey Knox has had a really good week,” Pittman said. “I think we’re sitting good there. I’m happy with our receivers.”
Pittman said it’s difficult all the ball enough given tight ends Hudson Henry and Blake Kern have a combined 20 catches for 167 yards and running backs Trelon Smith and Rakeem Boyd combined 22 catches for 138 yards receiving.
“It’s hard to get the ball to Rakeem and Hudson and three or four receivers,” Pittman said.
All are capable but none more so than Burks combining size, 6-3, 231, speed and great hands.
“If Treylon is open, we’re going to get him the ball,” Pittman said Thursday.
Leading rushers Smith and Boyd combine 112 carries for 439 yards.
Quarterback Franks got in the rushing act against Texas A&M, 16 carries for 91 yards, while Boyd netted 100 on 18, and Smith carried 5 times for 30 yards.
““It’s hard to share the ball.” Pittman said. “Especially when Feleipe’s rushing the ball several plays per game.
Because of true freshman Dominique Johnson, Pittman said redshirt freshman running back A’Montae Spivey deciding to put his name in the NCAA transfer portal does not immediately affect the running back pecking order behind Boyd and Smith.
“I like Dominique Johnson,” Pittman said. “He was third team before the mutual agreement that Spivey go to the transfer portal.”
Josh Oglesby, 4×100 relay NCAA Outdoor All-American sprinter on Coach Chris Bucknam’s Razorbacks track team, would figure if not for a season-ending injury during the preseason.
“The guy’s a good running back,” Pittman said. “Hopefully his injury will allow him to be back for track and/or spring ball. But he won’t be back before then.”
Never discount Burks at running back should Boyd and Smith need rest.
“He (Burks) is as good a runner as we have on the football team,” Pittman said
Until head coach supervising the Brad Davis coached Arkansas’ offensive line in August/September preseason drills after no spring ball because the initial covid-19 outbreaks canceled college sports last mid-March into summer, former Georgia offensive line coach Pittman knew Tennessee’s offensive line better than Arkansas’.
“Those guys (under third-year Coach Jeremy Pruitt) at Tennessee have done a really nice job of recruiting all positions but especially on the offensive line,” Pittman said. “I know there are two of three of those guys that I certainly was going hard after at Georgia, and Tennessee ended up winning that recruiting battle. I think the leader of that group is certainly (senior All-SEC guard) Trey Smith. He’s a guy I tried to recruit as well. They are very physical and very good double-team guys. So it’s going to be a slobber-knocker.”