Sam Pittman Hints Some Changes on Defense, Tackle Out Following Surgery

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Photo Courtesy: University of Arkansas Athletics

FAYETTEVILLE — Following losing a game 52-51 on Saturday Sam Pittman hinted at some changes coming with Auburn headed to Fayetteville.

Arkansas surrendered 611 yards of total offense to Ole Miss on Saturday. Monday Pittman was asked if he saw anything on film that can be cleaned up?

“There will be some corrections and changes and different things of that nature and what our schematics could be,” Pittman said. “Who’s playing. Certainly, there were a lot of problems we have to get fixed. One of them was certainly tackling. We couldn’t get (Matt) Corral on the ground, and our secondary support was poor. Therefore, that’s why you saw a lot of B-gap runs go to the house. We couldn’t get the edge. We let the edge go a lot on defense, and we bust several coverages. With a guy like Corral, it’s 7-on-7 or routes on air to that point.

“So, there’s a bunch of things we have to get fixed. We’re going to have full-time practices. We’re not going to cut time even though we’re in Week 7. We just can’t afford to. We have to get better on both sides of the ball, but the glaring deal obviously everyone knows was on the defensive side of the ball. Those are three areas we’re really going to have to concern ourself with this week, along with what we’re doing schematically and different things and moving people and things of that nature.”

Do you feel you have the depth to play a four-man front if that is something you choose to do?

“I think we do,” Pittman said. “That’s some things obviously that coach [Barry Odom] and I have talked about. Yeah, we certainly do. If you’re sitting there rotating, which we are right now, eight guys on the D-line and sometimes nine … you know four times two is eight. You certainly could do it. I’m not going to sit here and say what we’re going to do and what we’re not going to do. But to answer your question we do have enough D-linemen we feel like, that we could rotate in a four-man line.”

In addition, senior right tackle Dalton Wagner traveled to Oxford, but didn’t play. Pittman explained why on Monday.

“Dalton’s got a finger,” Pittman said. “The bottom line is that it went out on him, and they couldn’t get it back in place. He had surgery on that finger this morning. And so his status is, not going to be available for a while.”

Senior Ty Clary replaced him on Saturday and seems to be set for that in the immediate future.

“I thought they all played pretty good,” Pittman said. “Cody’s (Kennedy) biggest challenge this week is finding out what he’s going to do with his personnel, whether Brady (Latham) moves out there some as well. You have to have a backup. Is Ty’Kieast the guy? I really don’t want Ty’Kieast back out there because I’m trying to develop those two big guards inside. But I thought Ty did a really good job the entire day. Did a nice job in pass protection. I think Beaux (Limmer) came over and helped him quite a little bit, too. They were a three-man rush, so you basically with Ricky (Stromberg) and the way Ricky was playing you could basically double team both edges, and that’s what we elected to do once Ricky was secure in there. For the first game … Ty is a veteran. He’s started a lot of games, and going into the game I wasn’t one bit concerned about right tackle, because Clary obviously has been practicing it during the week for several weeks, because of Wag’s hand and we were taking Wagner out of any good on good. The good-on-good reps, Ty was getting.”

Last week Pittman moved Ty’Kieast Crawford and Jalen St. John inside to guard. They didn’t play behind Latham and Limmer last week. But Pittman may have found another tackle in all the shuffling around on offensive line. Luke Jones has played mostly at left guard, but Pittman says he looks good at tackle.

“I thought they played well,” Pittman said of Limmer and Latham. “I think a lot of times (when) you think you’re going to lose your job, you go back to playing how you earned that job. I think they did. I thought they had a good game. I was really proud of Ty Clary out at tackle. He played the entire game out there at right tackle.

“I tell you what we found out a little bit last week was about Jones. I think Jones can be another tackle for us. We moved him out to left tackle. We’re going to look at him a little bit as a swing guy. He’s very athletic and long enough. I want to leave those two big kids inside. I just didn’t think they were quite ready for game action last week and we were moving the ball pretty well. It’s not really time to change that around if, going into the game, you hadn’t seen enough where they can consistently help you move the football. But I think that’s what we’re going to do, is keep them inside and part of that is because I think we need a big presence in there and another thing is I think Luke Jones looked really good last week at tackle.”

Also on the injury front defensive back Trent Gordon didn’t make the trip to Oxford due to injury and key safety Jalen Catalon is playing with a cast on his hand. Any chance Gordon is back soon and will Catalon have to wear the cast remainder of season?

“Let’s go with Gordon first,” Pittman said. “I think Gordon, I’m hoping there’s a possibility he can get back this week. He was better last week. We didn’t travel him, because we don’t travel guys that we don’t think have an opportunity to play. And then on Cat, I think they’ll always be some type of protection there throughout this year with his hand.”

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