FAYETTEVILLE — KJ Jefferson and the Arkansas offense will have a new person calling the plays on Saturday.
Kenny Guiton replaced the fired Dan Enos Sunday after the 7-3 loss to Mississippi State. Arkansas had a bye week, but will head to The Swamp for Saturday’s game. Following Tuesday’s practice, Jefferson talked about working with Guiton.
“It’s been great,” Jefferson said. “Everybody is bought in. Everybody is excited to go out there and play for Coach Guiton. He’s excited as well to have an opportunity like this one he has coming up. Everybody is excited. Everybody is buying into the process of what he’s trying to get done with the offensive side. Everybody is bought in. It’s been a great environment.”
Jefferson has completed 143-of-219 passes for 1,547 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has rushed 112 times for 228 yards and three touchdowns. How much have things changed for you from Enos to Guiton?4
“It’s pretty much the same with me,” Jefferson said. “But, from a standpoint of Coach Guiton coming in, he’s more of a laid-back coach. He corrects us when we make mistakes, but he’s not really, really hard on us. He played the position, so he knows what to expect. He kind of just lays back and lets us do our own thing, but when he needs to coach us, we’re very coachable.”
Sam Pittman said Monday the Hogs have cut around 35% of the playbook out.
“It’s just been a positive,” Jefferson said. “I mean, guys don’t have to think as much. Guys can be confident in the games that we are calling . Calling plays that we are good at or we had success on and try to get guys to play faster and play more confidently rather than thinking a lot, playing slower, and scared to make a mistake, so the plan has been good so far. We cut down, trimmed down on some of the playbook so some of the guys can play faster and just move forward and be able to play confident.”
Among the things changing are fewer dropbacks for Jefferson. The Hogs have had trouble blocking the number of dropbacks called by Enos.
“The game plan we have, we want to make sure that I’m comfortable with the game plan that we have,” Jefferson said. “Just building up, the main thing is make sure that everybody else is comfortable with what we got practicing on. What we’re building on. What we are watching film on. It’s a all-around team effort. It’s a unit thing. Whatever game plan we might be and the look that they give us, we’re going to take full advantage of it. I dont want to say too much.”
Jefferson and the Hogs played Florida Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in The Swamp. The Gators took a 63-35 win. Jefferson talked about what he remembers from that game.
“It’s humid down there, so hydration will be a big thing for us,” Jefferson said. “It really wasn’t much because of COVID, so it was kind of hard to get the full feeling of being in the stadium. But I feel like it’s going to be a great atmosphere this weekend. Looking forward to just both teams coming out and competing at a very high level. We’re coming out establishing what we want to establish on the offensive side of the ball. Getting into a rhythm early. I think that’s going to be key. Putting together a four-quarter game and game plan we can be efficient on and score points.”
Arkansas (2-6, 0-5) has to win its final four games to become bowl eligible. Any additional pressure from that?
“I just feel like we have to go out there and execute at a very high level, go out there and play our brand of ball,” Jefferson said. “And then just have fun with it. I mean, that’s the main thing. Just take advantage of this opportunity, knowing we have four games left and take them one day at a time, one game at a time and have fun with it. Just keep building a bond for us to come together as a football team.”
Arkansas and Florida will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday and televised on ESPN2.