Special Teams at Arkansas Receives Strong Emphasis From Sam Pittman



FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman obviously is hoping the special teams at Arkansas this fall are truly special.

Pittman hired Scott Fountain from Georgia to coordinate the special teams. He signed former Duke kicker A.J. Reed as a grad transfer in February while former Michigan walk-on punter George Caratan transferred in. During a Zoom conference Friday, Pittman talked about the special teams heading into Monday’s first practice.

“Well, the punting and kicking job will be determined just like every other job on our field,” Pittman said. “But we certainly our pleased with getting A.J. Reed here along with Caratan. We’re pleased with what they’ve done since they’ve been here. That job will be determined just like every other job on the depth chart.”

Pittman worked with Fountain at Georgia. He feels the special teams are in great hands now at Arkansas.

“ I love Coach Fountain and what he’s doing with our players,” Pittman said. “I tell you, we had a meeting about, we had five of our assistants along with coach Fountain specifically on each unit of special teams. They have taken that … if we coach special teams as hard as we do our position, we’ll have …. We’ve got speed. We’ll have a good special teams. We’ve got kickers. We’ve got punters. Long snappers. And we have speed. So we’ve made a big emphasis.

“I believe Coach Fountain has had more meetings – been part of more of our meeting time than any place I’ve ever been around. Of course we’ve had extra meeting time, so that says a little bit about that as well. I really like the direction we’re going mentally in special teams and I think Scott Fountain is really a special special teams coordinator.”

At Duke last season, Reed was 15-of-18 on field goals with a long of 51. He was perfect on all 34 point after touchdowns. Redshirt sophomore walk-on Matthew Phillips is a candidate at both kicker and punter. Arkansas also added true freshman walk-on Vito Calvaruso in recruiting.

Senior Sam Loy returns at punter. Last year, Loy had 56 punts averaging 39.5 yards with a long of 59. He had 19 inside the 20 and 31 fair caught. Sophomore Reid Bauer returns after having three punts and averaging 36.7 yards with a long of 37. In 2018, Bauer punted 56 times averaging 38.9 yards with a long of 64 and 14 inside the 20. Caratan is a junior.

Gone is Connor Limpert who was Arkansas’ kicker much of the past three seasons.