Highlights from Pittman's Monday news conference

By: Scottie Bordelon Scottie Bordelon's Twitter account
Published: Monday, November 14, 2022
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman is shown during a game against Liberty on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Fayetteville.
( Hank Layton, NWA Democrat-Gazette )
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman is shown during a game against Liberty on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Key updates from Arkansas coach Sam Pittman's news conference Monday afternoon previewing the Razorbacks' game against No. 14 Ole Miss on Saturday:

• Sam Pittman opened his press conference by sending his thoughts and prayers to those at the University of Virginia who were impacted by the shooting there.

• Overview of Ole Miss: The Rebels are explosive and have great skill. They have really good wide receivers. Defensively, they are disruptive. They’re playing extremely well. They lost a close game last weekend, but they’re well coached. I'm looking forward to a night game at home.

• On KJ Jefferson's status: We anticipate him practicing today and playing on Saturday. Those things can change. They have the last two weeks, but he feels better than he has since the Auburn game. I know he feels better than he has the last two weeks.

• We lost last week. We changed up practice last week. We played an excellent game on defense. We haven’t necessarily done that much this year. What we did last week in practice that helped us play well on that side of the ball, we will carry it into this week.

• Pittman did not have a firm update on defensive backs Myles Slusher's and Anthony Brown’s status this week. Brown will remain on the scout team defense and Slusher will move up from the scout team. He will have a concrete determination by Wednesday, he said.

• We haven’t been able to win the close games this year. We have to figure out how to do that every year or the record is going to go from 9-10 wins to 5-6 wins. We’re 5-5. We have high expectations, and I like having them. But we want to win. We’re disappointed with where we are. I think you’ll see a team on Saturday that wants to get bowl eligible.

• Asked about the role injuries have played on the season: I think it’s a big thing. Some guys are 1s for a reason. A guy like KJ is special and could play for anybody. It’s hard when you lose your key guys, like him, Dalton Wagner and Jalen Catalon. This year it’s been a rash of injuries in the secondary and we never got comfortable with each other until the last game and a half, probably.

• On the series with Ole Miss: The fans are always going to be excited about these games because it seems like there’s always going to be a lot of offense. If we can get our quarterback back, I think there’s a chance it’ll be a whale of a game. We’re working hard to change things. The fans are going to show up and raise a lot of heck and show out this weekend. Former Arkansas defensive backs coach Sam Carter left here and went over there. There’s a lot to play for.

• On Ty’Kieast Crawford's performance vs. LSU: For his first start, I thought he did a good job. I thought he held up pretty darn good. Pittman said on the final play that a tailback bumped Crawford’s hip and that opened him up even more, allowing Harold Perkins to get around him for the strip sack.

• Wagner is going to practice some today. My philosophy on it is we don’t say a kid is out if he can do something. We like to check them out in individual drills then see how much they can do in practice.

• On defensive coordinator Barry Odom being on the sideline: We won nine games with him upstairs now. But he’s been down on the sideline recently. He can explain the changes we’re making to the kids and us. If things aren’t working, you can be bull-headed or you can try to fix it. I think it was the BYU game that we made the change, and it worked. He’ll stay down there.

• On the weather this weekend: I hope it’s colder than last weekend. The weather probably did impact the scoring last week. The colder the better. We’re rooting for a freeze-out if we can get it.

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