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Sam Pittman addresses Arkansas’ COVID problem in conference call

Tennessee v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

It’s no secret that the Arkansas football team has been plagued by injuries and COVID-19 restrictions. Specifically, within the last few weeks.

And it looks as if this trend will continue as the Razorbacks head into an unexpected bye week, thanks to those limitations.

During an SEC teleconference call on Wednesday morning, head coach Sam Pittman addressed these issues, ensuring that the team will be prepared when the time comes to play — however, no one truly knows who the Razorbacks’ opponent will be for their next scheduled game on Dec. 5.

““... we’re going to give our kids off after this walk-through today and they will be back on Sunday and we will practice, we’ll start for whomever if we have a game,” said Pittman. “We’ve already watched film on both teams, so we’re prepared for whomever it may be and we’ll start our normal Monday practice certainly on Monday.”

The uncertainty has definitely thrown a gigantic wrench into the season, but Pittman, who has also missed a game due to COVID restrictions, seems confident that the team will be prepared, despite the opponent.

Pittman also touched on the return of a couple of key players. Players that have been missed thanks to the virus, as well as non-COVID related issues, stemming from injuries which has saturated a great portion of the football team.

“Well, there certainly is a hope that we can get several of our players back,” said Pittman. “... if we stay good with the tests, we can get several of our players back.”

And it looks as if the Razorbacks will be returning a great deal of players, eventually. According to Pittman, the team received their daily COVID report on Wednesday morning, indicating that the Razorbacks scored big with 0 positive tests — excluding those who are currently in quarantine.

Although there’s still some uncertainty haunting the program, as is with many squads when looking at the entire landscape of college football, Pittman sees the entire situation as a great learning experience for the Razorback program.

“... I think eventually it’ll make your team better and make you stronger and things of that nature,” said Pittman. “It has been a stressful year, but I’m awful glad that we’ve had the season.”

As the year begins to wind down, it’s hard to dismiss the “what could have been” question for the 2020 Arkansas Razorbacks. After all, even with vacant spots due to COVID, the Razorbacks were a field goal away from taking down in-conference rival LSU — something that the Hogs haven’t accomplished since 2015.

However, when looking at the grand scheme of things, Sam Pittman not only beat floor-level expectations for the 2020 season, but he also raised them for 2021.

It’s safe to say that the Arkansas football team has been a pleasant surprise, and the 3-5 Hogs will head into Dec. 5 with one thing in mind: winning.

On Wednesday, Pittman made his expectations very clear, ensuring that all decisions being made right now is for the betterment of the program ... A program with a new lease on life.

“... Obviously, every decision we make is whether we can win or not and is it the best thing we can do to win,” said Pittman. “We’ve got two weeks left, let’s go get it.”