Like it is:

Hogs doing their part to have football season

By: Wally Hall
Published: Sunday, July 5, 2020
Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman (right) is shown with his assistant coaching staff during the Razorbacks' basketball game against Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. At left and facing is offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman (right) is shown with his assistant coaching staff during the Razorbacks' basketball game against Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. At left and facing is offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.

Sam Pittman seems to have natural leadership skills and a way of relating to the players as the head coach.

In other words, he’s the boss.

The longer he’s at the University of Arkansas, the more it seems a lot of schools made a mistake by not giving him a shot to direct their football program.

Pittman had another of his Zoom news conferences last week to update Razorbacks Nation, and defensive back Montaric Brown and running back Rakeem Boyd also were available.

Let’s just get this out there: When Boyd opted to return to college instead of enter the NFL Draft, he automatically made the Razorbacks’ offense better. He’s an every-down SEC back with good hands and better speed, and he’s tougher than a Texas drought.

Brown was one of the Hogs’ more dependable defensive backs last season, and he appears ready to elevate his game.

This news conference focused on how the Razorbacks are doing since returning to campus for voluntary workouts.

Voluntary workouts are allowed by the NCAA and SEC, but if players miss too many, they aren’t so voluntary.

Anyway, as with anything and everything these days, part of the conversation was about covid-19.

Boyd said everyone is wearing a mask in workouts — which is no longer controversial, but essential — and keeping 6 feet apart.

Brown said Pittman had made it clear to every Razorback that if they want a season, they will practice social distancing at all times and wear a mask when needed.

It seems these Razorbacks really want to get back on the field. They’ve had a mouthful of 2-10 seasons, and they are ready to wash that taste out.

Pittman, as he has from the start of this awful pandemic, said the Razorbacks will be ready for their Sept. 5 opener with Nevada. Or adjust to whatever changes are made in the season.

He’s got a plan.

Decisions on when or whether a football season is played is made above his pay grade, and he is fine with that.

All he wants to do is teach and coach, which seem to come natural to him on and off the field.

Everyone is hoping to have a college football season, but the truth is the coronavirus is not under control. Most of the nation has had an increase of new cases the past two weeks.

The SEC canceled its football media days that were to begin a week from tomorrow in Atlanta. The event now will be held virtually. No date has been announced, and last week the SEC media department sent out a reminder that no date had been set.

For years, the SEC has made a big deal about its football media days while cutting back on its basketball. The SEC usually is the first conference to hold media days in the summer, and it has the most media attending with typically more than 1,000 credentialed.

The fact a new virtual date hasn’t been set may not be a red flag, but it cannot be interpreted as a positive sign, either.

Several schools across the country, including Alabama and LSU, have reported fairly large numbers of football players who have the virus.

Some schools have stopped their athletic activities.

It was written here weeks ago that if Razorback fans hope to have a season, they need to wear a mask in public.

On Friday in a grocery store, about 30% of the shoppers obviously were not football fans wanting to see a game as they ignored the mandatory mask regulation in Little Rock.

The Razorback football team is showing common sense and doing what it can to have a season.

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