Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for WholeHogSports.com. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Bordelon previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Springdale. He is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
What Sam Pittman said about players returning for voluntary workouts
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman speaks Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, during a press conference to discuss the early signing period at the Fred W. Smith Football Center on the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman
• First of all, we're saddened to hear the news of Johnny Majors passing today. A dear friend of mine played for him and I know the impact he made in his life. He impacted many people. We're thinking about him, his family and players he impacted in his life.
• On addressing team about issues going on across the country: We've spoken about it, and that is between the staff and the team. We talk about it daily.
• We're still able to meet with our kids eight hours per week. We use a majority of it with our freshmen. We're having separate meetings with the young guys. They're also involved in some virtual workouts because they're not here. Older guys are meeting an hour per week individually with their coaches. Weight room-wise, we're going to go five days per week in there. Kids are staying pretty busy.
• We're not allowed to watch them do anything, even in the weight room as a coach. The strength coach needs to be there for safety reasons, but we have no access to them through the month of June. We're working on them being able to use a field. We should know something there in 2-3 days.
• The four New Orleans kids had to quarantine - Andrew Parker, Joe Foucha, Devin Bush and Kelin Burrle. We should have our full team minus 5-7. They are waiting on transcripts and things of that nature.
• On being at the protest last night: It was powerful. I'm glad I had a chance to go down there. A lot of the kids on the team were there as well. We asked them not to be there late, but we did not ask them to not go down there. We just asked our team that if they felt good about it to leave before sunset. It was very powerful. I was very honored to be a part of it and was glad to be able to go down there with other members of the coaching staff and team.
• It is going to be good to get the kids back on June 8. We're going to have to have a lot of feedback from our strength coaches because we can't go in the weight room with them. It's sure going to feel like more of a football team.
• "I trust our kids," he said when asked how hard it is to not know what his players are doing away from campus. We trust our kids are going to be in good shape when they get back. Some guys were using people as weights, he says, but nothing was too crazy. I just see that kind of thing on Twitter.
• We're going to start slow with our kids in the weight room. You don't want them to go so rapid that you're injury-prone. We're going to find where they're at. The NCAA said we can't test our kids to see where they're at. We have plenty of time to get them in shape and we're going to use an extra day than we normally would. We're going to go a little bit slower with them.
• Kids will be 10-12 feet apart in the weight room. We're not doing anything combative. If anyone has the virus and was close to anyone else on the team, they would be quarantined as well. That is a 10-day process.
• Jerry Jacobs is on our board as a corner. We're going to try him at corner. We feel it's easier to move someone from corner to safety than safety to corner.
• Catrell Wallace will not be on our football team. From what I understand he will go to a junior college.
• TJ Hammonds was put on scholarship yesterday. Pittman says Hammonds signed the papers yesterday.
• When you have discussions with kids about going pro, you have to get evaluations. I had conversations with Rakeem Boyd about that. We talked to him about how we can help him increase his value. I don't believe he wanted to leave the football program, he wanted to know what his status was were he to leave. I believe we can help him getting upgraded in the draft.
• More on Boyd: He has to continue to catch the football better. That came back on his evaluation. We'll help him become a more physical pass protector. Those are two things we talked to him about that he has to improve. One of our jobs is to get our guys drafted as high as they can. We're going to do everything we can.
• More on going to the protest on Tuesday: I didn't count the staff that went. I asked if they wanted to go because I was going. I felt like I needed to go. In my heart, I wanted to go. I wanted to support our team and the protest. That's what I believe in. You can tweet about stuff, you can do a lot of things - take a picture to show someone - but actions are strong. I felt like, for me, the best way to address the situation was to go be a part of what could be a solution. No other reason. I didn't go down there for someone to take my picture. I wanted to support the players on our team and their families.
• The people at the protest were awesome. I was proud I went. I don't know how to explain it. I went by the Fayetteville Square this morning and it was a great situation. The people of Fayetteville did a wonderful job with the protest.
• I felt like we needed an OTA (organized team activities) situation because of the lack of spring practices. I reached out to several NFL teams and expressed that to the SEC office. There were some other coaches who felt the same way. We may get some type of action OTA-wise in July. We're prepared for if we do get it and if we don't. But we need terminology on the field, technique on the field - all the things we didn't get in spring ball.
• On the No. 0: I asked for the rule on who can wear 0, and yes, I have had kids ask me about the number. The bottom line is, I assume, the first person who wears it will be the first at Arkansas. I think it's pretty important. I don't have anyone currently on the team in the number. We may pass it around this year. But we have to find out who can wear it first.
• I'm a coach, and it's hard to coach when there's no one to coach. It's incredible they'll be back. We want them back, and we can't wait for that to happen. We're adamant about it. We need these kids back, and hopefully, they need us. We're excited to get them back.
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