Sam Pittman may get what could help a first-year coach who didn’t even get a spring practice with his team, which is probably what August practices will be.
The announcement Thursday from the SEC that it would an all-league schedule this year starting three weeks later than normal pretty much guaranteed that.
So much for Pittman getting a warm-up game before jumping square into a game in the toughest league in the country where Arkansas hasn’t won a game during Hunter Yurachek’s time as athletics director.
“I have reminded Mark Womack of the last time we won an SEC game,” Yurachek said Thursday afternoon.
Womack is the SEC official charged with trying to invent a schedule less than two months before the first game that satisfies 14 different coaches and 14 different athletics directors while keeping the cash coming from the television networks.
“It could get contentious,” Yurachek said at one point.
The media didn’t get to talk to Pittman following the announcement about the season. He’s just glad to know there IS a plan with some sort of date that actually has a shot of holding up.
Right now he probably doesn’t really care who that opening game Sept. 26 is against, although it might make for some interesting storyline to have Pittman’s first game be on the road against Georgia, the team where he coached the offensive line into one of the best in the country.
Nobody has said it, but it’s probably a safe bet the televised matchups are going to play a role as Womack puts it together. It will be one home game and one road game and the pool of potential teams in the East includes the Bulldogs, Florida, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
Womack is really in a no-win position. Somebody’s not going to be happy.
“It’s never going to happen,” Yurachek said of everybody being happy. “I trust that Mark Womack will do a great job in putting our schedule together.”
Don’t get bogged down by the details. Pittman doesn’t care. In his released statement, there really was just one part that mattered:
“Our staff is already working on plans to get our team ready to go. Our entire program is excited to know we’re going to play football starting September 26.”
With the official fall camp practices still starting next week, Yurachek said the coaches and players won’t be pushed to cram a missed spring practice along with normal fall camp schedules into three weeks before game preparations begin.
Now they have the entire month of August for Pittman to effectively have something close to those missed 15 practices in the spring.
Key takeaways from Yurachek’s press conference
• Cancel those plans for playing Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium. That game will likely be played in Columbia, Mo., now.
• The same thing applies for the Southwest Classic. A&M wants out of that deal badly and Yurachek has admitted it will probably be in College Station. It’s also clear he wants next year’s game in Fayetteville.
• The hits keep coming for Pittman in his first year. He likely won’t have any recruits on campus the rest of the year. “I don’t see recruiting opening up any time during football season,” Yurachek said. “I think if the dead period is extended through December, you’ll see the early signing period moved past the first of the year.”
• The Hogs currently have one player in quarantine, according to Yurachek, who said on a couple of occasions how well the players have done following the guidelines.