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 Pittman said previewing Alabama game week
Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman gestures, Saturday, September 23, 2022 during the fourth quarter of a football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Sam Pittman spoke with reporters for roughly 30 minutes Monday afternoon to preview Saturday's home game against No. 2 Alabama.
Here are the highlights from Pittman's press conference:
• We’re excited to play Alabama. The Crimson Tide probably have the best player in college football on both sides of the ball in quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson. We’re going to be excited to get in our stadium and play Alabama on a national stage.
• I went back and talked to all of our kids Saturday night. We have two losses in the last 10 games, but the loss hurts. Some kids were crying. We’re going to flush it out of here in the first half of our meeting, then the second half we will be on to Alabama. We don’t have time to mope.
• Those bigs plays are the ones that stick out and can cost you a game. On our fumble, we’ve talked about it, those are big plays. Each play really matters. We’re not going to make a mountain out of a mole hill. We shouldn’t have made those mistakes, but we’ve got to learn from them and move on.
• Defensive back Myles Slusher does make us a better defense with him at the nickel spot. It was good to have him back on Saturday.
• You go into a game basically thinking you’re going to be about 50-50 with run and pass. During the game you go with what’s working for you. On one of Malik Hornsby’s plays, it was supposed to be pitched back to KJ Jefferson, who had Trey Knox wide open. It didn’t work. We have a lot of good wide outs and good running backs, and it’s hard to get them all touches. The last drive, whether we were supposed to or not, I was trying to melt the clock down and score.
• On playing Alabama tough last season: They can beat you before you ever run out on the field. Programs like that, you play them close, you have some belief moving forward.
• On forcing turnovers defensively: We work on it every day. We haven’t gotten many all year. We’re aware of it. We do strip-tackling and work ball security in each practice.
• Slusher is a big deal for our defense. Nickel back is one of the biggest positions for us. I was really pleased with the way he played. I don’t want to use surprised as the word, but I was pleased with his play. He played the entire game and played well.
• Bryce Young: When he gets outside the pocket, he looks comfortable. I just think he is playing with extreme confidence, and he’s been a good player since he was probably in fifth or sixth grade. He’s got good players and around him and some really good backs.
• On Will Anderson: He had such a good year last year. He’s right where he was in 2021. You have to have a plan for him. He’s taken over some of their games this season. He sticks out among a bunch of good players over there.
• On Max Fletcher, Arkansas’ punter: He's been trying to maybe aim some of his punts to keep the ball out of the hands of opposing teams’ return men. He’s been inconsistent, but he’s a good player and will improve.
• On running back Dominique Johnson: I don’t know what the plan is moving forward. I thought he had a good game. We’re looking at it as we need to give the ball to Rashod Dubinion a little bit more, too, and AJ Green had some good carries. We have four guys back there who can really play. Dominique ran the ball hard last game and looked good.
• Pittman says cornerback LaDarrius Bishop is out for the year with a knee injury.
• On keeping Cam Little up mentally: He is such a unique kid. He’s a great kid. We’re going to put it in perspective – he missed a field goal. We had more chances than that one to win the game.
• On Arkansas' third-quarter issues: I don’t know what’s going on there. We’re going to have halftime at practice this week then go good-on-good right after that break. We’ve got to change something. We’ve got to get in our minds that we have to get going. You concern yourself with focusing on a fast start to the game, but we have to be better in the third quarter.
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