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Arkansas and Texas emphasized early during spring evaluation

By: Richard Davenport Richard Davenport's Twitter account
Published: Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman is shown during a scrimmage Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Fayetteville.
( Hank Layton)
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman is shown during a scrimmage Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Fayetteville.

The Arkansas coaches hit the road for the spring evaluation period on April 24, and the focus at the beginning was on in-state schools and Texas. 

With five new coaches on staff, Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman wanted offensive coordinator Dan Enos, tight ends coach Morgan Turner, defensive coordinator Travis Williams, co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson and secondary coach Deron Wilson to make their rounds to the Arkansas and Texas high school coaches the first two weeks. 

“It’s a really big priority of Coach Pittman’s to get the new coaches around the state and meeting the in-state coaches and also the state of Texas,” director of football operations Patrick Doherty said. “He prioritized that Week 1. He knows the need for elsewhere, but he really wanted to hit refresh in those two territories first this spring.” 

Pittman wants a bigger emphasis on East Texas, an area that has been very kind to the program through the years. 

Razorbacks All-American, Outland Trophy winner and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Loyd Phillips was an East Texas product, as was NFL All-Pro offensive lineman Jason Peters, running back Fred Talley and receiver Cobi Hamilton, just to name a few.

“We kind of wanted to start in East Texas and work our way out,” Doherty said. “I know we’re sending some guys to Houston and send some to the DFW area, but Coach Pittman wanted more emphasis in East Texas. He’s been preaching that because there’s a lot of Hog support there. It’s not too far from campus. I don’t think he thought we were doing a bad job there, but he just wanted to address it and make our presences felt.” 

While head coaches aren’t allowed on the road during the evaluation period, a school’s 10 assistant coaches are able to visits schools twice – once to evaluate a recruit’s athletic ability and again to check on academic qualifications. 

“The message from Coach is we want to use our days better than anyone else,” Doherty said. “He wants us to be efficient and make sure we’re getting to the right cities.” 

Former general manager Butler Benton spearheaded off-campus recruiting for Arkansas, but left recently for another opportunity. Assistant to the head coach Brian Overton is filling in while working with Pittman. 

“Brian Overton has been running the show as far as facilitating coaches,” Doherty said. “He’s been working with Coach Pittman.” 

With Arkansas still recruiting in the transfer portal, coaches have to be able to adjust their schedules in case a transfer needs to make a visit to Fayetteville on short notice. 

“Guys are almost like on standby to have to jump back to Fayetteville quick or stay on the road,” Doherty said. 

Schools get 168 evaluation days, which averages to 16.8 days per staff member. The Arkansas coaches will likely be off the road by May 12, but there could be a case in which a staff member might be out longer. 

“We’ll save one or two if there’s a spring game we need to get to or a jamboree scrimmage type thing, so if we need to put one in our back pocket the week of the 15th, we will,” Doherty said.


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