A near cinch bet that in University of Arkansas football history no Razorbacks have been more excited about two Georgia Bulldogs selected in the NFL draft’s first round than last Thursday night. Arkansas’ offensive linemen were excited because the Bulldogs first-round selected Andrew Thomas by the New York Giants, and Isaiah Wilson by the Tennessee Titans, were coached by Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman. Pittman now is Arkansas’ new head coach.
Already Razorbacks know what they have been told of Pittman’s Arkansas’ offensive line coaching success from 2013-2015 furthering 2013 senior center Travis Swanson into a 5-year NFL player and developing the likes of current NFL players Frank Ragnow and Dan Skipper and former Razorbacks stalwarts Denver Kirkland and Mitch Smothers. Now it’s buttressed by Georgia’s 2016-2019 powerhouse offensive lines including NFL first-rounders in the same year. It has Razorbacks O-linemen yearning for things to come under Pittman and offensive line coach Brad Davis, personally recruited to Oklahoma by Pittman when he coached the Sooners’ offensive line, and Pittman’s 2008 offensive line graduate assistant at North Carolina followed by since 2009 offensive line coaching success at Portland State, James Madison, East Carolina, North Texas, Florida and Missouri.
Arkansas junior right offensive tackle Dalton Wagner said he was glued to the TV watching Thursday night’s NFL draft first round. “It’s incredible,” Wagner said of watching Thomas, the fourth pick in the entire draft, and Wilson selected in Round One. “It’s a testament to Coach Pittman’s coaching and I’m really excited to be able to be coached by him and more importantly, to be coached by Coach Davis. Coach Pittman puts all of his trust into Coach Davis to get us to where we need to be and Coach Davis has coached plenty of good O-linemen, as well, great o-linemen. I’m really excited about what they can pour into me these last two years of eligibility I have.”
Arkansas junior linebacker Bumper Pool on Friday’s teleconference with Wagner and graduate transfer quarterback Feleipe Franks was impressed seeing video of Pittman’s joy when Thomas and Wilson were drafted. “I actually just saw that like right before this call,” Pool said. “The passion and the love he had on the phone with his wife was so real. That wasn’t staged at all. When you see something like that, you can tell that he loves his guys. How could you not want to play for somebody that loves you like you’re their son? That was an awesome video. I’m really glad they put it out there.”
Although the UA campus is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic with spring semester classes strictly online since mid March, Franks, Wagner and Pool are in Fayetteville and finding ways to work out. “ You can’t be in large groups,” Franks said. “But we find a way to throw every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It’s hard to get work in, but at the same time I think it’s doable if you just put the routine in.”
What receivers have been in town available to catch what he throws? “There’s been multiple guys,” Franks said. “Earlier there was Kendall. There’s been Tyson Morris out there. I’ve been throwing with Mike (Woods) a lot. There’s different guys that come out when they’re available. Its just kind of varies from day-to-day, but we have a group message. We just kind of communicate who’s going to be there, who’s not, so it works out really good.”
The UA Monday started its final week of spring semester classes before the May 4 start of final exams week.