FAYETTEVILLE — Isaiah Sategna has had a big impact on Arkansas returning punts and kickoffs, but on Saturday he also got to show off his many skills at wide receiver.
Sategna had two receptions for 19 yards including a 5-yard touchdown catch from KJ Jefferson. Sategna spoke about his performance against Alabama following Tuesday’s practice.
“It’s just a blessing from God,” Sategna said. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity, you know, for a long time. I’ve been here a year and a half, and I’m finally just seeing everything that I’ve been working hard for, coming in front of me.”
Sategna detailed his touchdown reception from Jefferson.
“You know, we were watching film on them and we saw that look and we implemented the play,” Sategna said. “We’re driving, driving. There was a pass to Tyrus (Washington) that ended up getting called for a penalty and so that brought us into the redzone. They called me in and I just knew what I had to do. If the ball was thrown to me, I had to come down with it, had to do whatever I needed to and it finally happened. It was just like, it was one of the best moments of my life. I finally saw what a year and a half of hard work had done for me and it was just very rewarding.”
Sam Pittman said Monday the Hogs may use more up-tempo now they are back home. That has a great sound to Sategna.
“I mean, y’all can see it,” Sategna said. “Bama wasn’t set a lot of the times that we were running the tempo and I mean, I really like it. I hope that we do it more in the future and I feel like it was working.”
Sategna was asked if the team gained any confidence with their comeback against Alabama rallying from down 24-6 to 24-21?
“No, I just feel like the theme for this year has kind of been defeating ourselves,” Sategna said. “I feel like the teams that we’re playing have obviously been good, but whenever we’re on and we’re doing what we’re supposed to, nobody in the country can mess with us. Whenever we start doing these penalties and missing assignments, that’s when we start hurting ourselves. Everybody on the field truly has to do their job to the fullest and whenever you get that done, that’s whenever the big plays happen. I know that’ll keep happening and we’re excited for this weekend against Mississippi State.”
On Wednesday, Pittman talked about what Sategna had to say.
“Well, I think obviously you don’t want guys teeing off on you,” Pittman said. “I think fast tempo has a lot to do with not letting their cleats get set in the grass, or not getting out-gapped or not getting into the proper gap or something of that nature. Alabama is so well coached that it wasn’t often that they weren’t ready at the snap. But as we continue to move forward I think we’ll continue to do it a little bit more.”
Sategna showed confidence in Dan Enos, Arkansas’ offensive coordinator, and in the upcoming game on Saturday.
“You know, Coach Enos, best play caller in the country right now,” Sategna said. “I really like what he has to do. I really like what he’s implementing for this week. I feel like we’re going to light it up. We’re at home this week, and we’ve missed being home. We had a long stretch. I mean, we were the home team against A&M, but that’s away in Dallas. It’s tough. So we’re just happy to be back in our own stadium.”
Arkansas has lost five games in a row dating back to the last home game against BYU. But Sategna feels the vibe among the Hogs is good.
“I feel like we’ve got a good vibe in the locker room, you know,” Sategna said. “I’m around more offensive guys usually, but I feel like we know the task that we have at hand and we got to win. Everybody knows that. Everybody’s working hard this week and I like the team that we got.”
After playing four road games in a row now the Hogs come home to play a team coming off a bye week. Ever feel like you guys can’t catch a break?
“I mean, kind of,” Sategna said. “But it’s the SEC so this is what we signed up for. We knew that we would be playing the best and that’s what we want. We’re not trying to back away from competition or anything. So, we’re happy for it.”
Arkansas and Mississippi State will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning and televised on ESPN.