FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ season opener is nearing and Sam Pittman will put his team through a mock game on Friday.

The mock game is simple, but is just set to allow players what to do on game day.

“To be honest with you, our mock game has gone a little bit into taking the stress out of the kids is the main concern about game day,” Pittman said. “So, we will do everything from pre-game meal… Now we’re not going to do it four hours before the game, but we will do everything from pre-game meal and how we do that to the Hog Walk to running through the ‘A’ to where do we sit to a bunch of substitutions.

“We’ll go through goal line and make sure we have the goal line out there. We used to put on shells and run kind of a game. Then we went to spiders. Now we use that for announcing our captains, and we use it for team photo and then we use it for just substitution. It’s almost like a subscript. A little more physical than a subscript would be on a Friday afternoon. In other words, nobody will get taped and things like that tomorrow. It’ll be more mental than it will physical and showing them from the beginning to the end to everything of what a game day is all about.”

Pittman is excited to see the season nearing, but admitted telling players they were going to the scout team wasn’t an easy task.

“I think it’s tough,” Pittman said. “The first thing I did is put up two guys that were scout team players that went in the first round. Isaiah Wilson played on the scout team the entire year and two years later went in the first round. Johnathan Cooper, I coached him at North Carolina. He was a scout team, redshirt guy. He was the seventh pick in the draft. Guys learn a little bit different. Some guys are strong enough or big enough yet, but I showed them that whatever their dreams may be they can still have them. These guys did and they continue to do it.

“The better your players get the better your scout team gets. I can remember in 2017 at Georgia, our scout team on both sides of the ball, but I knew more about the defensive scout team, it was incredible. It helped us tremendously. The better your scout team is the better your look team is going to be. I thought they did a really good job. Alex Sanford is down there right now. I don’t know that he’ll be there all year. He makes a lot of plays down there. Guys have been showing out the last two days since we moved to scout. Really proud of them, but the conversation is hard.”

Pittman is pleased that no one other than wide receiver Sam Mbake came out of camp with an injury that will keep him out all season.

“I like camp,” Pittman said. “You know, we are beat up. You know, you guys come to practice, there are guys in green. There are guys not in there. I do not think today though, to be perfectly honest with you, that we’ll have anybody, I don’t think that we’ll have anybody miss a game except for obviously Mbake. We’re trying to be smart with them. Some of the guys today, we did scout team work with them but did not do good-on-good work with them. We had three different segments of good-on-good. We didn’t put them in live action. We do have some guys with some ankle injuries. Some things of that nature that we’ve got to get healed up between now and when we play next Saturday.

“It’s been a physical camp. It was a physical practice today. It was just a Tuesday practice for us, but you know, there’s three segments of good-on-good. A lot of physicality. We went goal-line. We went short-yardage. All those things that obviously we all know we needed to work on last year, and we’re trying to correct all those things. Really proud of where we’ve been. I wish we weren’t as banged up as we are right now, but I believe that by Monday, at least half, maybe more of the guys that we’re holding from the good-on-good section will be back.”

One such injured player who has missed a lot of time recently with an injury is linebacker Antonio Grier Jr. who transferred in from South Florida.

“Well he had a quad pull,” Pittman said. “And we expect him to start practicing on Monday. But he’s had a lengthy injury there, even when he was practicing he wasn’t full speed. So, we expect that — our plan is to get him in some indy on Saturday and then obviously we’re off Sunday. Monday, well it’ll be a Tuesday practice for us but at the latest we’d like to get him on the field with us Monday and we feel we can.”

One player who may have benefitted from a teammate being injured and missing some time is left offensive tackle Andrew Chamblee. Devon Manuel was the assumed starter at left tackle, but got injured and Chamblee is making a case to start there.

“I think that’s still yet to be seen,” Pittman said of Chamblee starting. “Andrew Chamblee certainly deserved reps on Saturday. I think there will be an ongoing battle there, and then I think at some point you’ll go, ‘OK, are both of these guys in our top five?’ If they are then you’ve got to have another conversation on what’s our best five. Where can we put our best five? Lately, in the last few days, Ty’Kieast Crawford is entered into that conversation as well. But I couldn’t be any more proud than I am with Andrew Chamblee. He took an opportunity and proved he’s ready to play. We’re going to play him.”

Junior college transfer Amaury Wiggins is trying to get into the top five offensive linemen as well. The former Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College standout has impressed Pittman.

“Absolutely,” Pittman said. “And I think we’ve had some injuries over the last week, and we’ve found … I mean, you see them, you see them against our D-line and things and you’re going, ‘OK, OK, OK.’ I think we feel really good about at least eight, I do, with Amaury being one of those guys.

“He’s beat up a little bit with an ankle. We’ve got to get him healthy as well. He’s never missed a practice … well, he missed a couple early when he first did it, but we’ve got to get that ankle healthy to really see what kind of player he really is, because the power is not quite there because of the ankle. But I think once the ankle heals up — and he’s close — but we’re monitoring him in the reps that we give him right now versus good-on-good.”

Arkansas and Western Carolina will meet at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.