Offense struggles against Auburn following Florida showing

By Otis Kirk
on 2023-11-14 08:00 AM

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ offense couldn’t repeat its showing on Saturday against Auburn they had the previous week against Florida.

In a 39-36 overtime win over the Gators, Arkansas piled up 481 yards of offense. They passed for 255 yards and rushed for another 226. However, against Auburn, Arkansas was limited to 255 yards of offense. That included 120 rushing and 135 through the air. Sam Pittman was asked what was the difference?

“Well, as a coordinator you can only call so many plays now,” Pittman said. “People got to block and execute and this, that and the other. We obviously thought we executed it well in practice and things of that nature. So, we’re still evaluating Kenny (Guiton). I’m not going to let one game where we didn’t have any success in reality change any of that. It’s not time to make that decision to me. But I’m not disappointed in him by any stretch of the imagination. He’s worked his tail off and came in here and he’s done a really good job.”

Pittman also talked about how to get the offense going again on Saturday when FIU is the opponent.

“There’s a lot of things,” Pittman said. “We’ve got to play better out on the edge. We’ve got to play better at tackle. I mean, we have to. We have to make people miss. We obviously have to protect better, all those type things. We’ve got to change something up. Obviously we had a change during Florida, which worked for us. We did a lot of similar things, some changes, on Saturday. They had a week to prepare for it, which was different, because Florida did not.

“We have to continue…we’re not a team that can just turn around and hand the ball off right now and just smash like Auburn did to us. We’re not there right now like we’ve been for the most part of the other three years, especially the last two. We’ve got to continue to steal some yards and things of that nature, and get some what I might call “easy yards” or “space yards.” Once we get out in space, we’ve got to make somebody miss, too, because other people are making us miss. We’ve got to do something a little bit different so we can get some explosive plays.”

Among the possible explosive plays would be getting the ball to wide receiver Isaiah Sategna. He has caught 12 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Sategna has the speed to be a deep threat.

“I hope so,” Pittman said. “We obviously have been running routes where he is running deep over the middle of the field. He happened to get open that time, and he threw it to him. We always have somebody down the middle of the field to throw it to. We also have some other guys that are fast on the team, but he made a nice catch on that one, and obviously if we can get it more often we sure would like to do that.”

With so many injuries at tight end, Nathan Bax, more known for his blocking, caught two passes for 15 yards against Auburn. Can he become a threat in the passing game?

“Well, I hope so,” Pittman said. “Bax is reliable. You know exactly what he’s going to give you. He’s been wonderful to have on the football team. Made a couple of — ran up the sideline on one of his catches and so we only have him for two more games. We got to rev him up and see what he can do. But I was proud of his effort on Saturday.”

Arkansas will host FIU on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. with the game broadcast on ESPNU.

(Last updated: 2023-11-14 08:00 AM)