FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman was on the SEC Teleconference Wednesday morning then held his weekly Wednesday Zoom in the early afternoon.
The Razorbacks will face LSU on Saturday night in Baton Rouge at 6:30 p.m. and televised on the SEC Network. Here’s three things to take away from Pittman.
Running back Trelon Smith remains Arkansas’ leading rusher on the season, at least for now, with 95 carries for 476 yards and four touchdowns. However, he lost his starting job to redshirt freshman Dominique Johnson heading into the Mississippi State game. Smith had five carries for 17 yards against the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon. Pittman was asked how Smith is handling not starting?
“I think he’s done well,” Pittman said. “He was in a great mood yesterday at practice. Those things, I don’t know, probably most of us have had that situation happen to us if we’ve played sports. I mean it’s hard it’s a difficult situation to handle especially when you’ve started for a year or whatever combination of a year. But he’s handled it very well. He knows that he’s going to get some carries, he knows he’s valuable. To answer your question I think he’s handled it like a pro would.”
Trey Knox NFL Tight End
Junior Trey Knox was moved to tight end earlier this season from wide receiver. Pittman feels Knox can play that position beyond college as does Kendal Briles.
“I think that’s certainly his best opportunity to play in the NFL,” Pittman said. “I mean he goes from an average wide receiver speed to a fast tight and, and if he can keep that 240-245 pounds whatever it may be. He has great hands, I’m talking about in the blocking, any time you’re thin or you’re not heavy, in order to have success, same way wit ha tackle or whatever, you have to be good with your hands. He’s really good with his hands, so once he gains that weight, I think he’s going to have a lot more power. I think he can be an NFL-type tight end. Yeah, I agree with Kendal.”
Knox said Tuesday night it was his idea to move to tight end. How big was that in making it a smoother transition?
“It makes it easier obviously to do it,” Pittman said. “I think the player… I’m not saying a player can’t reach his full potential if we moved him because we certainly can. I think because he wanted to do it, it was a much smoother transition and he made it work. I think he’s going to be a really good tight end. I think he’s playing well. He played well Saturday. I think he’s at 225 right now. We’ll work in the offseason to get him better so he can be a little more physical. But it says a lot about him, and we certainly didn’t want him to transfer. It says a lot about him, and I think he’s bought all 100 percent in on tight end.”
Is there a target weight for him this offseason?
“240 would be the low end of that for me,” Pittman said. “If he could get to 250, that would be outstanding. But 240, I’d like to see him get to 240 on the low end of that.”
Arkansas looked re-energized against Mississippi State this past Saturday. They were coming off a bye week. How have they looked in practice this week and can they sustain the energy on Saturday night at LSU?
“I think so,” Pittman said. “I think maybe we’re sitting at maybe 17 days with three games coming up, 18 or 17, I’m not positive. But you have three games tossed into those days.
“Yesterday again, we had talked about noise. And yesterday we probably had too much noise. Monday was an outstanding practice. Yesterday I didn’t think it was quite as good as I’d think a normal Tuesday would be. So we’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to play the noise half of the reps and start without it so we can get a little more enthusiasm, a little more coaching done and hopefully today will be a wonderful day because of it. I think our legs are there and all those things. We are going to go shells today half the practice and then take them off and go spiders the remainder of the practice.”