Ask Mike: A New OC, Pittman More Involved & How Will the Offense Change?

on 2023-10-23 19:10 PM

Q. Our first question is from Luke STYwalker who wants to know: Do you think this was desperation by Pittman to appease the angry mob or do you think Enos was truly the problem? Just wanting to know your opinion.

A. I don’t think Hunter Yurachek walked up to Sam after the game and said fire Enos if you want to save your job. Based on what he said at his Monday press conference Pittman realized that Enos had lost the the offensive players. They didn’t believe in him or the offense. Their play in that game said it all, especially the quarterback. So if Pittman is right, we should see a big change in the performance of the offense against Florida. If not, well I don’t want to think about that right now.

Q. Tiredofhogssucking asks: What kind of offense will we see against Florida? To me it seems our players WANT to play at a faster pace…less technical…just our athletes making plays.

A. I think you nailed it. Pittman said on Monday that he will move KJ out of the pocket more. The offense will be simplified with fewer plays. I don’t think they will go back to last year’s offense but maybe implement some of the concepts in it.

We could also see some philosophical changes like throwing it more on first down. We might see some pass routes changed. Since Guyton will be running things with Sam Pittman’s input I expect to see more changes to the passing game.

Q. Walt Gates says: When things are this bad, sometimes a change (even drastic) can jump start an offense. Benching KJ is certainly not optimal, but Jacolby Criswell could bring in some fire…..

….. and complete some passes that KJ isn’t completing. I love KJ’s athleticism and grittiness, but if he’s not 100% we look bad.

A. There were a lot of issues with the offense besides KJ. Mostly the same old stuff. Poor blocking. Questionable play calling. The lack of a running game and so on. But there was something different about KJ in this game. He wasn’t the same guy who managed to suck it up and lead the offense to scoring drives in the previous four game. Carrying the team on his back so to speak. I kept thinking, all he needs is just one drive down he field. Just one and they will win this game. But it never happened. I can’t believe Sam Pittman didn’t notice this and do something about it. yes i would have been a drastic move but at that point they needed something drastic. So I agree with you. But Sam Pittman said after the game that he never discussed playing Criswell. Now that he’s fired Enos it looks like to me that Pittman believes that Enos was the issue, not KJ. I would be surprised if we see Criswell against Florida.

Q. Coach HM says: Criswell won’t last a game with this OL. KJ made all those miracle plays to keep us alive vs Bama. Plays that Criswell physically couldn’t even make in high school.

…. Instead of placing the blame where it belongs (Pittman, Kennedy & Enos) you want him benched. I hope you get your wish.

A. This is an interesting response. The part about, ‘I hope you get your wish,’ implies that something awful will happen if they give Criswell a look. They’ve lost six straight games. How does it get worse? If Criswell plays and he’s not moving the chains put KJ back in the game. But again, I don’t think that will happen.

Q. Joseph Newsome who asks: Am I the only one who noticed something very different about KJ Jefferson on Saturday? I’ve never seen him struggle like that for an entire game.

A. The key phrase there is, “for an entire game.” Yes A lot of fans noticed. But there’s a definite split between those who think that Criswell deserves a shot and those who think it’s a crazy idea and that it’s disrespectful to KJ. I can see where both are coming from. At but at some point you have to see if a change can make a difference but that’s not gonna happen until at least after the Florida game. If they lose that game and are no longer bowl eligible then you could see the coaches start getting Criswell ready for next season.

Q. that’llduepig says: I am worried about KJ Jefferson. He’s not playing like himself. He’s playing like a man with a concussion. He’s throwing to nobody, confused on routes….

….How often do they check for a concussion and what is the protocol? Do they have to be hurt on the field before they are examined?

A. Team trainers know the signs of concussion and there is a protocol to deal with the situation if a concussion is suspected. Sam Pittman said after the game that he was not away of any injuries to KJ. I would assume that would include the possibility of a concussion. I highly doubt that KJ could have worked out this week without the coaches noticing that he was suffering from the effects of a concussion.
Again, based om Pittman’s Monday’s presser, the problem with KJ was that he no longer wanted to run this offense

Q. porkporkpork asks: Who gets fired first – Sam or Jimbo?

A. I’m not sure that either one of them is fired this season. With Jimbo it’s all about that ridiculous 76 million dollar buyout. Even the Aggies have to have a bottom line on what they’re willing to spend to get rid of a head coach. I’m also guessing that they’d owe Petrino quite a bit unless they hired him which I don’t think would be likely.

With Pittman it’s all about Hunter Yurachek and what he decides. If Pittman can show him that his solution for turning this thing around worked then he stays. I right now. Whatever Yurachek decides, he hasn’t done anything in his time at Arkansas to convince me that he doesn’t know how to handle a crisis. If he fires Pittman or accepts his resignation he will likely be cheered by a lot of fans. But there are factors that may work in Pittman’s favor. What about Travis Williams and the success he’s brought to the defensive side of the ball. Is he willing to give all that up?

Can Pittman come up with an offensive coordinator that Yurachek believes is the right guy to come an and fix the problems there?

So far Arkansas’ current recruiting class has held up. If it stays like that over the next month is that a factor?

There are some unknowns right now.

Q. BloodRedHog asks: Was that it for Sam? Before the game, I figured Enos was gone after the season, but that assumed a win.
Now, everything has changed.

A. Again I really don’t know. I still think if changes are made during this open date week and if those changes are successful, it could greatly influence Yurachek’s decision.

Q. RazorAlex88 says: Each game is like having a tooth pulled without anesthesia but today was the WORST! I usually keep things in proper perspective but today left me ANGRY! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Changes MUST be made in the near future….

My pitchfork for Sam is not out just yet (I will give him 1 more year) but definitely out for Cody Kennedy and Dan Enos!

A. This is one of those times where I’d like to see a professional poll done on the fanbase. I’m not talking about an online poll. Ask some questions on Twitter and
go with the answers. A professional poll which doesn’t come cheap, would reach a sampling of the entire fanbase, not just online fans.

I remember a poll years ago by a Hogville member who had the money to commission such a poll. Hogville polls were showing that 90% of the fans wanted Houston Nutt gone. The professional poll, when completed, showed Nutt was supported by almost 70 % of the fans.

The Internet is not the whole world people. I’m convinced that there are lot more Razorback fans who do not actively post on social media than those who do.

Q. grassroothog asks: Do you think it would be possible to bring in a former Head Coach to advise Sam Pittman? I remember when something similar was done after Joe Kines was made interim Head Coach and they hired Danny Ford for that reason.

a. Anything is possible but those are two completely different situations. Kines was an interim head coach with about three games experience in that role.
Pittman is in his 4th season as a head coach. That was early in the season. This season is almost over. I don’t see anything like that happening now.

Q. Hogdogger wants to know: Are the O-line issues a question of coaching, talent or recruiting?

A. From what I’ve been told there is a drop off in talent there and it’s the result of recruiting and a failure to address some issues through use of the portal. I will say however, that good offensive linemen are less likely to hit the portal and it’s harder to go out and get difference makers in large numbers. In other words it’s difficult to produce an instant fix along the O-line with use of the portal. Linemen need time to work together.

The puzzling thing to me is that this problem has developed on Sam Pittman’s watch. He’s been asked about and his answers have been vague. Someday after he retires I’d like to sit down with him and get him to explain it.

Q. PigDaddyKane says: After this performance, I doubt we will 4 games to get to a bowl game. Do we get some younger guys playing time? Start building for next year?

A. As long as this team is still bowl eligible no. But if they lose the Florida game I would expect to see some of that. The real question is, what about at quarterback? If a change is not made during the open date and Arkansas loses to Florida I cannot see any reason why Jacolby Criswell and even Malachi Singleton should not be given a look at quarterback. At that point it would not affect their ability to redshirt this season.

Q. arktrav wants to know: Is there even a remote chance someone in the media has the guts to ask Pittman if he or Enos have even the slightest idea of what the heck they’re doing?

A. He’s already been asked that more than once but in a much more diplomatic way. The difference between the media and a ticked off fan is that we’re trying to actually get answers to questions as opposed to just taking a shot at a coach.

Q. tomarkansawyer wants to know: Do you think coach Pittman has lost some of the “fire in the belly” that is so necessary to be a SEC head coach? It seems since he switched agents (to Sexton) and got the big pay day, the demeanor that made him so affable to the fan base has been seen less and less.

A. I don’t think any of this has to do with his agent or the new contract he got after the 2021 season. Some the questions he’s giving an I don’t know to these days will come out eventually. As I said earlier it will probably happen after he retires and can talk more openly about some of the issues over the last two seasons. Heck write a book. I’d buy it.

Q. GA-HAWG asks: Can you tell us why there are so many people allowed on college football field sidelines during a game? I’m surprised we don’t hear about injuries to both bystanders, or players pulling hamstrings or worse injuries trying to avoid a collision.

A. There was a time at Arkansas where you had to be shooting either still photos or video to be on the sidelines. They started relaxing that years ago. I do agree that’s it probably needs to be reigned in some but it’s not as a bad here as at some schools. If you asked legitimate media shooters they’d be all over removing non working people from the sidelines but I’m not holding my breath on that.

Q. mousetown asks: Can you elaborate on the conversation you had with the legendary Earl Campbell last week? He’s the only ex Longhorn I know of that Razorback fans actually admire.

A. Earl Campbell may be the only ex Longhorn I know of that is almost universally respected by Razorback fans of that era. He’s a super nice guy. Very complimentary of Arkansas under Frank Broyles and expressed support for Sam Pittman. We swapped stories about legendary NFL star Mean Joe Green. I was lived in a dorm next to the athletic dorm at North Texas State when Green played there. He was nuts. Earl agreed with me. He has those Bentonville West football players eating out of his hands after the speech he made to them. Campbell’s son Tyler was also very impressive.

(Last updated: 2023-10-23 19:10 PM)