Sam Pittman Feels Georgia Southern Will Challenge the Hogs, Gets Starting QB Back This Week

FAYETTEVILLE — If there was ever a perfect spot for a trap game on Arkansas’ schedule it would be this week after the big Texas win and week before SEC opener against Texas A&M.

Sam Pittman talked about his team avoiding a letdown this week against the 1-1 Eagles.

“Well, you try to have the media not say what you just did would be the first thing,” Pittman said. “Nah, you know I’m teasing. To be honest with you, I’m not one bit concerned about it, and I’m not going to talk about it a lot. From the way that we beat Mississippi State last year and went to Auburn and had that call at the end of the game. Our kids could have gotten the big head after Mississippi State, but they didn’t. They played a good game against Auburn. That happened. They came back and beat Ole Miss. Went and played A&M pretty good last year. It was a pretty good game for us, then we came home and beat Ole Miss. So, we have proven in the past we can just flush whatever success, or however bad it may be, we can flush it and go to the next week. I believe that is what we will do.”

Georgia Southern opened the season at home beating Gardner-Webb 30-25, but lost to Florida Atlantic 38-6 last week on the road.

“We’re excited to play a really good Georgia Southern team,” Pittman said. “They have a different style of offense, and they have a lot of offense. They have every kind of option you could imagine. They run a gap scheme where they have a really big, nice back in No. 2 (Logan Wright, 6-0, 230), and they have another back in No. 5 (Amare Jones) that’s a nice player. Their entire offensive line and their tight end are back, so they understand what coach is trying to get done.

“They finished 8-5 last year. I think he’s been to bowl games three years in a row. So, our defense is going to have to prepare for them. We certainly prepared for them in fall camp. We had different individual periods and probably spent three to four different days working on their option because we didn’t feel like we could get it all just like we wanted in a week’s time. On defense, they’re an odd team. Multiple twisting. They’re a quick team. We’re excited to play them, but we know they’re a good opponent.”

In the first two games Georgia Southern was without its starting quarterback, Justin Tomlin, who was suspended for academic reasons. He

In the first two games Georgia Southern was without its starting quarterback, Justin Tomlin, who was suspended for academic reasons. He will return against Arkansas this week. On the depth chart, Tomlin is listed as the starter this week backed by Cam Ransom.

“I expect them to play him. He was their starter last year, really good player. I thought 19, the quarterback they have now, was doing a nice job. They were kind of using 5, who was their running back as well in the first game. This last game, they used 19 more. He played as well. They guy they’ll get back had a two-game suspension. He was their starter. I’m sure he’s been practicing the entire time. To defend the option, it’s a triple a lot of times, sometimes it’s not. You have to have someone for the dive, someone for the quarterback and then you have to have both inside and outside on a pitch. We have to make him pitch the football because I think they’ve pitched the ball four times in two games. The quarterback wants to run the football. Maybe their veteran quarterback is different. You have to be sound because if you’re not it’s like getting outside of 21 other guys and you’re gone at that point. It’s going to be a challenge for us.”

Does Tomlin coming back change how Arkansas will prepare for them?

“I don’t think (it does) a lot, because the offense is similar,” Pittman said. “It’s kind of the same. I don’t think a whole lot, except we’re going to have to show our kids last year’s tape to see him and all his abilities. He made some pitches last year that so far this year the other quarterbacks either didn’t (make) or aren’t comfortable doing. He’s truly going to take that offense, in my opinion, to a different level, because he has done it so much and I’m sure he’s been practicing. I don’t know a whole lot, except we’re just going to have to show them how talented he is.”

Pittman downplayed the 38-6 loss to FAU this past weekend by Georgia Southern.

“You can’t really caught up in 38-6, because Georgia Southern was up 6-0 and had an opportunity to go up 13-0, and fumbled down around the 7 or 8-yard line in the second quarter,” Pittman said. “Then it kind of went south on them after that. So they played a really good first half. They just couldn’t get much going in the second half. 

“I do know this about South Georgia kids. They’re tough. They’re a little bit like us, I think, they’ve kind of got a little chip on their shoulder, and maybe are fighting to get respect, and things of that nature. But it went south on them, to me, I don’t know, I’m not their coach. But to me, after they fumbled down there with an opportunity to go up two scores (is when things went south).”

Arkansas and Georgia Southern will kickoff at 3 p.m. Saturday in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

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