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Andy Hodges

Players in better condition makes coaching a little easier

With Arkansas’ players staying within the five-pound “radius,” Sam Pittman hoping that leads to better results this year.

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With all of the issues of last season, Arkansas’ players probably weren’t in the greatest condition … or at least what Sam Pittman wanted.

“The first part is we’re in much better shape,” he said at the first of what is going to be an extended Razorback Media Day that will last all month.

In case you’re wondering, that’s not a slight against anybody last year. Before new strength coach Jabril Walker got started last year, the pandemic wiped out all of spring practice and most of the routine summer conditioning drills.

Having the team together in the spring and summer has made a difference.

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“As I told coach Walker this is as big of a gain in the summer as I’ve seen,” Pittman said. “It’s pretty much all around. I don’t know the marks we set, but there was a significant gain in strength, weights where we need it.”

That can be up or down and he went into describing it.

“We have a five-pound radius. In other words, we pick — not for the head coach, but for everybody else — we have a five-pound radius where they have to stay within five pounds of our target rate.

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“We were over 90% of those guys that did that.”

Got it?

What all that means is they’re either adding good weight to the guys a little light and dropping some for the guys who added a few pounds.

Putting that with some other things that can’t be defined as easily as stepping on a scale are what Pittman hopes means things are coming together as he starts his second season that is really more like a first year.

“Because of the meetings we were able to have and the continuity with our three coordinators coming back,” Pittman said, “all of those things are going to benefit us.

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“But we feel a lot better about our football team. We know them better and they know us better probably is as important, either one. Feel good about it.”

Which is good news to the fans along with the covid vaccination rate.

The Hogs have 90% of the team vaccinated with 93% of the football building getting the shots, Pittman said.

On Friday the practices start and we honestly won’t know much more than whether this group looks more like an SEC team this year.

Apparently Pittman thinks they do.

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