Arkansas Razorback Football

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – At midweek both Arkansas Razorbacks Coach Sam Pittman and Ole Miss Rebels Coach Lane Kiffin say their teams are recovered from last Saturday’s beatdowns and this ready to try to beat each other.

The 13th-ranked Razorbacks 4-1 overall/ 1-1 in the SEC, and the 17th-ranked Rebels, 3-1, 0-1, clash in Saturday’s 11 a.m. ESPN televised SEC West game at Mississippi’s Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford.

Last Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. the nationally No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide flooded Ole Miss, 35-0 before settling for a 42-21 triumph.

Against the nationally No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Ga. the Razorbacks were routed, 37-0 obviously breaking momentum from upsetting then seventh-ranked Texas A&M the week previous.

“We’re good,” Kiffin said on Wednesday’s SEC Media/Coaches teleconference. “It took a day or two because I think there was disappointment because there was so much buildup to that game. We’re back to work.”

Pittman’s Hogs overcame a slow start to rout Rice 38-17, then still unranked, trashed then No. 15 Texas, 40-21 to crack the Top 20. They routed Georgia Southern, 45-10 and zoomed to No. 8 beating Texas A&M, 20-10 before Georgia marched through them.

“Obviously when you go get embarrassed as we did last week the only thing that gets you over that is going and playing another football game,” Pittman said. “So we’re excited about all that.”

Have they responded in practice?

“I think we’ve been great,” Pittman said. “I think practice has been really good. The team has responded well.”

Pittman reminded that losses aren’t the only games you put in the past launching a new game-week.

“Win or lose we come in on Monday and put the game behind us,” Pittman said. “We’ve had some awful big wins this year and we had to flush it and get ready for the next opponent.”

Ole Miss and Arkansas aren’t the 2021 Alabama Crimson Tide or Georgia Bulldogs, but they still must be regarded pretty good to be ranked 13th and 17th nationally, each only falling five places in the AP poll because voters know the prowess of who beat them. “Obviously we have a great opponent we’re playing this week,” Pittman said. “We have a lot of respect for them. I don’t think that’ll affect us one bit what happened last week, like it shouldn’t when you win big games.”

Kiffin commented of Arkansas: “ Very big challenge for us. Preparing for an ultra physical football team that runs the ball extremely well and plays very, very physical and is second in the country in pass defense.”

Unintentionally but considerably aiding and abetting Georgia’s dominance by officially committing 13 penalties, the Hogs were in for some strict sessions about avoiding penalties, Pittman promised at his Monday pre-practice presser.

How has that progressed?

“We’re pulling players off when we have penalties that we see or they call,” Pittman said Wednesday. “We’re doing some things as individuals with wide receiver blocking and so forth. A lot of watching the ball on the D-line. Just trying to emphasize that more in individual work where you can learn more than team because you have your own individual unit and can set up drills and try to get those things corrected.”

On Tuesday starting quarterback KJ Jefferson said the offensive line tried operating adjacent to blaring loudspeakers trying to simulate the crowd noise that at Georgia seemed to have them jumping offsides.

While Pittman has experimented grooming 6-5, 350 sophomore via University of Charlotte transfer Ty’Kieast Crawford and 6-5 , 330 redshirt freshman Jalen St. John as more massive alternatives to starting guards Brady Latham, 6-5, 305 and Beaux Limmer, 6-5, 300, St. John apparently would be the second-teamer more likely to sub first against Ole Miss.

“Well, I think St. John’s maybe a little ahead of Ty’Kieast with assignment-sound football,” Pittman said. “I just believe that we need a physical presence on our inside. We need some maulers is what we need. I know we’ve got 300 across there, but if it’s 330, 350, that’s even better if they can move.”

Eight for eight on field goals during Arkansas’ four victories, Arkansas freshman place-kicker Cam Little missed wide on his 37-yard attempt that would have averted a shutout in Athens.

“A guy’s going to miss every now and then,” Pittman said. “He’s really good. I’ll tell you this — every single time I send him out there I believe we’re going to make it.”

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