Just leave it to Sam Pittman to keep things light even when the current forecast for Arkansas football appears cloudy and dark.
The upcoming trip to Baton Rouge to take on No. 12 LSU on Saturday evening gave the Razorbacks’ head coach the opportunity to recently let fly with a few well-placed quips on his weekly radio show with Chuck Barrett. He explained that the football tactic of chipping – something the Razorbacks have focused on this week – is basically “knocking the hell out of someone” but sounds better the other way.
Late in the “Sam Pittman Live’ broadcast from the Catfish Hole in Fayetteville, the topic turned to the Friday flight to Baton Rouge, La.
While boarding the Razorbacks’ chartered plane for away games is old hat for many on the Arkansas football staff and older players, that is far from the case for everybody on the team.
“There’ll be a few that have never flown before and so I have to go through that trauma,” Pittman said, slightly grinning.
“I feel like they’re my wife, but there’s a lot of things that are fun for them and it is just a great experience. College football is great, it’s a tough job for the kids and all that, but man, you wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Likely, Pittman is here comparing true freshmen who would have been in driving distance from campus when recruited (and so weren’t flown in for their official visits) to his wife, Jamie. Other possible first-time fliers include Razorbacks who weren’t on the 70-man travel roster last season.
When folks fly, Pittman wants them to dress nicely, always wearing a jacket. No sweatpants and hoodies. “You can tell they take a little pride in that,” host Chuck Barrett said. “They’re competing a little bit in that, too.”
“Oh, man, I’m the loser on that,” Pittman retorted. “I can tell you that I look as good as I can, I’m [still] the last.”
Sam Pittman Puts Kibosh on Twitter?
It looks like the Head Hog is finished with the social media outlet formerly known as Twitter:
He was a far cry from the likes of Lane Kiffin and Eric Musselman, but Sam Pittman certainly used Twitter before apparently deleting it this week. His “Yes sir!” videos celebrating commitments became a staple at Georgia, with a compilation of those clips getting more than 39,000 views on YouTube. There were also times he clapped back at fans in his mentions. For instance, in October 2021, after back to back losses to Georgia and Ole Miss, a troglodyte going by the name of @CableNewsWatch called Pittman stupid for what he mistakenly recalled as Arkansas winning the toss and choosing to defer in both.
“For the record, before I block you, we won the toss at Georgia and we did defer because as a staff that’s what WE decided,” Pittman pounded out on Twitter. “Ole Miss we won the toss and took the ball. Went up 7-0. If I have a job opening, apply for the job so I can get educated on all your expertise. #gohogs”
Pittman, as SEC head coaches often do, blocked quite a few other people on the platform as well.
Fresh off a disappointing 38-31 loss to BYU last week, though, it seems the noise from social media got too much and he decided to eliminate it all together. This was something he hinted at during his weekly Monday press conference.
“You know, used to it was ‘You gotta do better’ or something, not ‘You suck. You’re fat. You’re this,'” Pittman said. “Now the comments have nothing to do with what happened in the game, it’s ‘You suck.’ And it’s not just me, it’s the kids. I think it’s a time when it’s harder to recover from losses if you’re a social media person. So you know your best friends will say ‘Man, you guys are going to get them this week. And oh, stay off social media.’ You know what I mean? So you’re going, ‘I have been.’ So then you’re going, ‘What’s happening?’”
Deleting Twitter isn’t a new strategy for those facing criticism in sports. In fact, this past season, scuffling Arkansas shortstop John Bolton did just that and it resulted in him playing better on the field. Arkansas football fans can only hope it has a similar impact on Pittman.
SEC Football Coaches on Twitter
Ole Miss — Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) — 633.7k
Georgia — Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) — 410.2k
Auburn — Hugh Freeze (@CoachHughFreeze) — 253.8k
LSU — Brian Kelley (@CoachBrianKelly) — 240.1k
Kentucky — Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) — 189.6k
Tennessee — Josh Heupel (@coachjoshheupel) — 149.9k
South Carolina — Shane Beamer (@CoachSBeamer) — 149.4k
Florida — Billy Napier (@coach_bnapier) — 115.4k
Missouri — Eli Drinkwitz (@CoachDrinkwitz) — 76.6k
Vanderbilt — Clark Lea (@Coach_Lea) — 41.3k
Miss. State — Zach Arnett (@CoachZachArnett) — 24.8k
Not on Twitter: Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher and now Sam Pittman
Arkansas Football Coaches in Booth Year by Year
During “Sam Pittman Live,” the head coach also explained that he prefers both of his coordinators to work in the booth during games. For three season, former Arkansas OC Kendal Briles worked the sidelines, however, because that’s where he could best orchestrate his fast-paced RPO system with a rapid-fire succession of hand signals.
As far as the position coaches, “you would normally keep the guys that don’t coach the larger groups, upstairs. So in other words, your o-line coach, you’d want him down, your secondary coach, you’d want him down” on the sideline, he added.
In the Pittman era, that means only the tight end coach stays in the booth, as you can see in the year-by-year list below. However, in the previous tenure under Chad Morris, even the defensive line and secondary coaches took turns upstairs.
2023: Dan Enos (OC), Morgan Turner (TE), Travis Williams (DC)
2022: Dowell Loggains (TE), Barry Odom (DC – moved down to the field midway through the season)
2021: Dowell Loggains (TE), Barry Odom (DC)
2020: Jon Cooper (TE), Barry Odom (DC)
2019: Joe Craddock (OC), First 5 games — Steve Caldwell (DL) & Barry Lunney Jr. (TE/ST) / Last 7 games — John Chavis (DC), Mark Smith (DB)
Andrew Hutchinson contributed to the above.