Pittman On Practices

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – For the football coaches evaluation  basics on blocking and tackling,  non-contact walkthroughs obviously don’t tell much, new Arkansas head coach and former (2013-2015) Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman concedes.

So the Razorbacks’ walkthroughs that began Friday might seem particularly worthless to the offensive line.

Yet playing the most complicated positions on the field outside of quarterback, Arkansas’ offensive linemen might benefit most from these walkthroughs before preseason practice truly is set to commence Aug. 7.

Pittman and  new offensive coordinator Kendall Briles are trying to install a new to these Hogs offense that was supposed to be installed during spring practices.

Those practices never occurred. The first U.S. mass outbreak of the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic cancelled all collegiate sports competition and practices in mid-March before Pittman’s first spring practice was scheduled.

So for these linemen that Pittman and new offensive line coach Brad Davis plan to cross-train at multiple positions to increase depth, these walkthroughs will be critical learning assignments.


During Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman’s  Zoom conference last week with Razorbacks basketball season ticket-holders, returning assistant coaches Corey Williams and Clay Moser were asked a “What if?”

What if the COVID-19 closedown hadn’t ended Musselman’s 20-12 first Arkansas season with the Razorbacks vanquishing Vanderbilt in the first-round of the SEC Tournament and told to go home that next day even as they readied  to play South Carolina in the second-round in Nashville, Tenn.

Where would the Razorbacks’ season have ended?

“The NCAA Tournament,” Williams asserted.

Moser concurred the Razorbacks would have advanced to the Big Dance from the SEC Tournament rather than the NIT where the 2018-2019 Hogs concluded in the second round at 18-16.

“We were preparing for South Carolina,” Moser said.  “And people don’t know this now  they were going to be missing their best player.  Us taking care of business against them was not a stretch.  We lost in a strange way to  South Carolina  (79-77 on Jan. 29 at Walton ) when we felt we had the better team. I think we’d have gone to the NCAA Tournament if we won that. We were clearly an NCAA Tournament team  plus we would have continued in the SEC Tournament and I think playing for a higher (NCAA Tourney) seed.”


After  Arkansas  top associate head coach assistant Chris Crutchfield left  June 1 to become head coach at East Central Oklahoma, Musselman hired David Patrick,  a 2019-2020 head coach to be his associate head coach assistant. 

Inheriting a University of California-Riverside  team that had gone 9-23 in 2017-2018, Patrick after a 10-23 debut in 2018-2019 advanced UC- Riverside  of the Big West to 17-15.

Just another reason for Musselman, who from his West Coast days knew Patrick when Patrick assisted at St. Mary’s University in California, and coached with Patrick when both assisted Johnny Jones at LSU,  to hire the Bermudan who had coached international ball in Australia, and with that Australian experience recruited Australian great Ben Simmons to LSU, and also coached  international ball for  Canada, and  assisted at TCU.Musselman talked glowingly of Patrick upon hiring him.

Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek said he can see why.

“ I think it’s a great hire,” Yurachek said. “I’ve had some time to spend with Coach Patrick this week  and I’ve been very impressed with him and just the chemistry that already exists between him and Eric and the rest of the staff.”

Asked on last week’s Zoom with the season ticket-holders what his role would be, Patrick replied:   “Coach Muss and his staff have the program going in the right direction. You saw that last year.  My role is just help keep this train moving in the right direction.”

Just how would he do that?

“Recruiting obviously is the lifeblood of the program and I feel I can help there,” Patrick said.  “From an Xs and Os standpoint I’ve been in the league and I know what’s going on the road you have to deal with.  Obviously Coach Muss has a great staff but I would be another voice that’s been there.”

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