Arkansas’ first scrimmage of fall camp was Saturday morning and it was “approximately” 150 plays, based on what we’ve heard from somebody that saw something.
That was nobody in the media. Sam Pittman is concerned somebody limping may generate a report that somebody thinks is either too alarming or valuable information to the enemy. Maybe he just doesn’t want anybody to know much.
It is an interesting position for a public university to take on either account, especially for a football program with three conference wins over the last three seasons … combined.
The scrimmage reportedly had some good things and bad things.
“We played extremely hard. We had too many penalties. The ball wasn’t on the ground a lot, but we did have the ball on the ground twice,” Pittman said later.
No, seriously, that’s a direct quote from the press conference.
Maybe the most interesting part of Pittman trying to give only the information he wanted to get out was the defense apparently finishing better than the offense.
“Our defense outlasted the offense,” he said. “In other words, maybe the last half of the scrimmage the defense controlled the energy of the scrimmage.”
That’s cause for some eyebrow-raising in the best-case scenario.
After what Pittman called “average” day for quarterback KJ Jefferson didn’t appear too happy about whatever happened.
“I left a couple of throws I wanted back out there I didn’t make,” Jefferson said later. “Felt like I let my offense down on a couple of drives. Just decision-making, basically. Driving the ball down the field and just making a poor decision on a read or anything like that.”
The offense struggled in the red zone and got a little sloppy at times, according to reports of those that saw things and even Pittman.
“We got a little sloppy in what would have been the fourth quarter,” he said. “That’s not when you need to be.”
Which could be the real reason Pittman doesn’t want anybody seeing a whole lot about this team. Or he thinks they’re going to be better than many are predicting. Right now it seems split about even on both sides of that issue.
For Pittman to worry about that now is ridiculous. There is virtually nothing an opponent is going to pick up from a camp scrimmage they can really use once the season starts.
Even the legendary Bill Parcells discovered that when coaching in Dallas after he tried to close things to the media.
“Before we played Buffalo in the Super Bowl, I was watching TV and saw this play they ran with Thurman Thomas,” Parcells explained in the way of an excuse for keeping the media away.
As is always the case (Pittman will figure this out sooner or later), somebody will always talk. Crack researchers in Dallas found out which play Parcells was talking about and did some research. The result wasn’t good.
A couple of days later there was an interesting question. Thomas had gained 82 yards and scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl on the play Parcells was referencing.
“Bill, what would he have done if you didn’t know that play was coming?” he was asked.
Access was granted pretty quickly after that.
For the Hogs on Saturday, though, maybe the best news is the Hogs have another kicker named Little that sounds pretty good.
Freshman Cameron Little is showing why he was the No. 1-rated kicker in the country coming out of high school this past season. He reportedly hit field goals from 46, 57 and 32 yards.
“He knows how to kick the ball between those two deals,” Pittman said holding up his hands like officials on a good kick. “I have a lot of confidence in him.”
Right now, though, that’s all based on hearsay evidence. Nobody can really get close to the kickers in practice.
Or anybody else long enough to figure much out either way.
All we know for a fact is there’s a game Sept. 4 at 1 p.m. and it will be hot.