HOGS prep for No. 6 Florida; more notes

HOGS prep for No. 6 Florida; more notes

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FAYETTEVILLE - While his 3-3 Razorbacks started practices for Saturday’s game at No. 6 Florida, Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman started game week at home in covid-19 quarantine.

At 6:30 a.m. Monday, Pittman was notified he tested positive for covid-19 from Sunday testing.

Awaiting another test result Monday morning hoping Sunday’s test proves false, Pittman said physically “I’m feeling great.”

Otherwise, he said, “I’m not feeling great.”

“I’m embarrassed,” Pittman said. “I wish I wouldn’t have gotten the covid. I haven’t done anything differently than what I’ve done ever since we were on the countdown before the regular season.”

Pittman must three times consecutively test negative this week before he would be cleared to travel to Gainesville, Fla. for Saturday’s 6 p.m. game against the 4-1 Gators, who lead the SEC East after defeating Georgia last Saturday. ESPN will televise the game.

Pittman held his regular Monday press conference on Zoom and was to talk to the Razorbacks via Zoom before they practiced Monday.

Defensive coordinator Barry Odom, Missouri’s head coach from 2015-2019, would head coach Arkansas on Saturday if Pittman is not cleared.

For this week’s practices, which Pittman can evaluate watching tape for next day suggestions, Pittman said Odom would continue coaching defense, while Kendal Briles continues coordinating offense, and Scott Fountain continues coordinating special teams.

They will conduct practices without any workout cell phoned instructions from Pittman, Pittman said.

“I hired great coaches,” Pittman said. “They’re going to go out there and get the football team ready. As far as staff meetings and things that I see on tape, that need to be relayed to the staff, I’ll be able to do all that. The bottom line is we have a coach for every position. We have coordinators for all three phases, and they do the coaching.”

That includes Odom head coaching Saturday, if needed, and making any on the spot decisions this week if circumstances don’t allow Pittman to handle them.

“As far as the voice of the team and those things, that’ll be Coach Odom,” Pittman said. “Certainly if I’m not able to go to Florida on Saturday, he’ll act as the head coach and he’ll do a damn fine job I’m sure.”

Pittman said he was the Razorbacks only positive test Sunday and outlined his testing protocol.

“I went back in this morning and was tested, so that result will be back tomorrow morning,” Pittman said. “If it’s negative, I’ll test again Tuesday morning, result Wednesday. If it’s negative, I’ll test again Wednesday morning, result Thursday morning, and I’ll be able to go back to work and be at work Thursday by 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning. If any of those are positive, then I go back to Saturday, Sunday, and then 10 days ahead of that would be back to work Wednesday or Thursday of LSU week.”

LSU AT 11 A.M.
Arkansas plays host to LSU Nov. 21 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium with kickoff at 11 a.m. on the SEC Network.

Sophomore right tackle Noah Gatlin, missing Saturday’s 24-13 victory over Tennessee because of an undisclosed injury or illness, is iffy for Saturday’s game and likely won’t attempt to practice until midweek, Pittman said.

Fourth-year junior Dalton Wagner started at right tackle against Tennessee.

During Monday’s press conference Pittman was told remnants of a possible hurricane could affect Saturday’s game in Gainesville much like wind and rain affected conditions during Arkansas’ controversial 30-28 loss Oct. 10 at Auburn.

“You talking about a hurricane from the University of Florida or a real hurricane?” Pittman said, laughing.  “There's two of them. I am teasing. But they (the Gators) are a really good football team, really, really good.”

As for the possible hurricane?

“We're gonna keep track of the hurricane and those things,” Pittman said. “They shift and move quite a bit but we'll keep track of that on a regular, daily basis.”

The Gators offense rapidly moves, inflicting damage on a regular basis, too.

Quarterbacked by Kyle Trask, stepping in last year when Feleipe Franks (former Gators starter now Arkansas starting QB) suffered a season-ending broken ankle, the Gators have been hard to stop.

Trask has completed 125 of 182 passes for 1,815 yards with 22 TDs vs. three interceptions.

“You look at them offensively they've scored 41 against Missouri, 44 against Georgia, 51 on Ole Miss and 38 on A&M,” Pittman said. “I mean they've got so many weapons offensively. Everybody talks about Trask and they should because he's outstanding. Then you look at (Kadarius) Toney, (Kyle) Pitts, (Trevon) Grimes, (Dameon) Pierce and (Jacob) Copeland.”

Toney has the most catches with 29 for 339 yards and six TDs. Pitts is the most explosive with 24 carries for 414 yards and eight TDs.

Franks can be called explosive, too. As a Razorback, he returns to “The Swamp” completing 123 of 183 passes for 1,428 yards and 14 TDs with three interceptions.

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