FAYETTEVILLE — When the Razorbacks head to the Swamp for this weekend’s Arkansas vs Florida matchup, they’ll do so with a smaller playbook and a new offensive coordinator.
Kenny Guiton, who’s filling in for the fired Dan Enos, will have about 30% fewer plays at his disposal after he and head coach Sam Pittman, along with the rest of the offensive staff, condensed the playbook over the open date in an effort to spark their sputtering offense.
That includes cutting another 5% on Sunday, less than a week ahead of the 11 a.m. CT kickoff at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.
“We’re trying to do the things we do well and more specific to what we can do vs. how to attack a defense,” Pittman said. “I want to be able to do it that everybody’s on the same page, blocking the right guys and playing as fast as we possibly can with the ability to have that tempo and all those type things, so you have to cut your playbook down a little bit because of that.”
After last week’s games, Arkansas now ranks 122nd nationally — out of 133 FBS teams — and dead last in the SEC in total offense, averaging just 305.9 yards per game. In terms of yards per play, the Razorbacks are No. 124 at 4.71 — their lowest mark since 2001 (4.68).
The hope is that the change will also have a positive impact on quarterback KJ Jefferson, as the fifth-year senior has struggled at times and not performed as well as he had under former offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.
“I think he’s excited about the change,” Pittman said. “I think he’s a guy that we probably needed to take some offense off of, where he could play faster and be more confident with what he’s doing.”
Exactly what Arkansas’ offense will look like Saturday, beyond what Pittman has revealed in interviews, remains a mystery, though.
The media won’t get a sneak peak at it, either, because the Razorbacks are not allowing their typical 20-minute viewing periods for reporters on Monday or Tuesday.
“We’ve had plenty of distractions,” Pittman said. “I’m just trying to close it in and make it about us this week to be honest with you. I don’t have a problem with (media) coming to practice at all. It’s something with Kenny and his new role and things of that nature, I’m trying to take any added pressure that he might have off of him.”
Arkansas Football’s Weekly Press Conference
Here are several other updates from the fourth-year coach’s weekly Monday press conference, in which he looked back at the open date, previewed the Arkansas vs Florida matchup, gave some injury updates and more…
- On coming off the open date: I think there’s a little different feel in the building. Everybody has taken to Coach Guiton and are excited for him. We got some bumps and bruises healed up.
- On the status of RB Rocket Sanders: Rocket is back, so we’ll see. I anticipate him practicing today. How much he can do, I don’t know. I’ll know more when I talk to y’all on Wednesday.
- On the status of CB Dwight McGlothern: Nudie was full-go. He’s still trying to work his way into playing time. He was able to play last week. Right now, he’s not starting for us.
- On the defense: The defense will continue to play hard. I think it’d be very hard for them to lose their enthusiasm and will to play just because of the coaches over there. They’re very positive and charismatic. Hopefully that’ll happen to our offense, as well, this week.
- On Florida’s defense: A lot of team speed. You really want to stay out of third-and-long. They’ve got a lot of stuff. We’re trying to figure out exactly how we want to attack that. … They’re a big-time exotic team on third down.
- On Florida quarterback Graham Mertz: Their quarterback is very accurate. Doesn’t throw a lot of deep balls, but very accurate. … A lot of play action, a lot of nakeds, a lot of bubbles. Not a lot of long balls. The majority of their throws are in that 10-20 range. To me, they run a lot of things that he can do and he does well.
- On Florida’s offense: This is a good offense that we’re getting ready to play. Really good offensive scheme. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We can’t let them get to the edge.
- On what Dwight McGlothern has to do to start again: Nudie is a good player and I look for him to continue to compete. It just is what it is right now. He certainly can earn that spot back. I expect him…to battle his butt off to get it back.
Watch Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman’s full press conference ahead of Arkansas vs Florida here:
Arkansas Football Injury Report
Here’s the latest on various Arkansas football players dealing with injuries ahead of Arkansas vs Mississippi State…
- RB Rocket Sanders (knee): Pittman said he expects Sanders to practice on Monday, but unsure how much he’ll do… Missed the last two games after missing three other games earlier in the season
- CB Dwight McGlothern (concussion): Was available to play vs. Mississippi State, but has apparently been surpassed on the depth chart
- OL Andrew Chamblee (back): Injured late in the second quarter vs. Mississippi State… Pittman said he’s fine and should be available vs. Florida
- CB LaDarrius Bishop (undisclosed): Did not dress vs. Mississippi State
- OL Luke Brown (finger): Did not travel to Tuscaloosa… Has not dressed out this season
- DT Marcus Miller (undisclosed): Did not travel to Tuscaloosa… Has not dressed out this season
- TE Luke Hasz (broken clavicle): Out for the season… Could potentially return for a bowl game if Arkansas makes one
- CB Quincey McAdoo (neck): Out for the season
- OL Terry Wells (torn pec): Out for the season
- OL Eli Henderson (knee): Out for the season
- WR Sam Mbake (knee): Out for the season
Arkansas Football Depth Chart
The following depth chart for Arkansas vs Mississippi State was released to the media by the UA in its weekly game notes…
For a breakdown of how the depth chart has evolved throughout the season, click here.
(NOTE: It’s important to remember that this depth chart is essentially worthless, as has been proved time and time again.)
|QB||KJ Jefferson||Jacolby Criswell|
|RB||Rocket Sanders||AJ Green -OR-|
|TE||Ty Washington||Francis Sherman||Nathan Bax -OR-|
|WR||Andrew Armstrong||Davion Dozier|
|WR||Isaac TeSlaa||Isaiah Sategna||Bryce Stephens|
|WR||Tyrone Broden -OR-||Jaedon Wilson||Dazmin James|
|LT||Andrew Chamblee -OR-||Devon Manuel|
|LG||Brady Latham||Josh Street|
|C||Beaux Limmer||Amaury Wiggins|
|RG||Joshua Braun||Ty’Kieast Crawford|
|RT||Patrick Kutas||E’Marion Harris|
- No changes were made to the offensive depth chart for Arkansas vs Florida.
- There is still an “or” between Chamblee and Manuel at left tackle, but Chamblee has started every game except one. However, he missed the second half of the Mississippi State game with an injury. Pittman said he should be fine, though, and they’ll battle it out for the starting job this week.
|DE||Landon Jackson||John Morgan III||Jashaud Stewart|
|DT||Cam Ball||Taurean Carter||Keivie Rose|
|DT||Eric Gregory||Anthony Booker Jr.|
|DE||Trajan Jeffcoat||Zach Williams|
|LB||Chris Paul Jr.||Antonio Grier -OR-||Brad Spence|
|LB||Jaheim Thomas||Jordan Crook|
|NB||Hudson Clark||TJ Metcalf||Jaylen Lewis|
|CB||Lorando Johnson||Dwight McGlothern||Kee’yon Stewart|
|S||Alfahiym Walcott||Malik Chavis|
|S||Jayden Johnson||TJ Metcalf|
|CB||Jaylon Braxton||Jaheim Singletary||LaDarrius Bishop|
- No changes were made to the defensive depth chart for Arkansas vs Florida.
- It’s worth noting that Rose has started the last two games at defensive tackle instead of Ball. However, Ball did come off the bench against Mississippi State after missing the previous week with an injury.
|K/KO||Cam Little||Blake Ford|
|P||Max Fletcher||Devin Bale|
|LS||Eli Stein||Ashton Ngo|
|H||Max Fletcher||Devin Bale|
|KOR||Isaiah Sategna||AJ Green|
|PR||Isaiah Sategna||Bryce Stephens|
- No changes were made to the special teams depth chart for Arkansas vs Florida.
How to Watch Arkansas vs Florida
Date: Saturday, Nov. 4
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Gainesville, Fla.)
Kickoff Time and TV Schedule: 11 a.m. CT (ESPN2)
Announcers: Roy Philpott (play-by-play), Roddy Jones (color analyst), Taylor McGregor (sideline reporter)
Arkansas’ Rankings: NR (AP) | NR (Coaches) | No. 48 (SP+) | No. 34 (FPI)
ESPN FPI: Florida has an 51.6% chance to win
SP+ Projection: Florida has a 63% chance to win, favored by 5.8 (proj. score: 30-24)
Odds/Betting Line: Florida, -6.5 | O/U 48.5 (BetSaracen)
More coverage of Arkansas football from BoAS…