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Pittman optimistic on injuries

by Bob Holt, Tom Murphy | October 13, 2020 at 2:25 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- University of Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman didn't provide any specific injury updates on his Monday video conference, but he sounded more confident that some key Razorbacks would be available for Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game against Ole Miss.

The Razorbacks played last Saturday's game at Auburn without starters in tailback Rakeem Boyd, receiver Treylon Burks, cornerback Montaric Brown, defensive end Dorian Gerald, tight end Hudson Henry and safety Myles Slusher.

Starting right tackle Noah Gatlin was hurt on the first offensive snap of the game, and cornerback Jerry Jacobs came out in the second half with an injury and did not return.

Pittman said his team was "pretty beat up," but could get some players back this week.

"I'm hoping that we'll get Montaric Brown, that we can get Slusher back, that Jerry is able to play," Pittman said when asked about the secondary. "We're out there with Khari Johnson and Hudson Clark, and those two guys did a heck of a job."

On the offensive side, Burks traveled to Auburn, an indication he was close to being healthy enough to play.

"I think, hopefully, we'll be close to full speed as much as we can be, but, again, I don't want you to think I'm lying to you," Pittman said regarding the availability of offensive standouts. "I'm just telling you what I know on Monday. I feel like we'll have a chance to be pretty close to full speed."

Faster pregame

Arkansas has scored once, on a 91-yard touchdown drive against Georgia, on its 13 first-quarter possessions.

"All of that to me directly relates to our pregame," Coach Sam Pittman said. "We don't start fast because we don't start pregame fast.

"We're out there basically going, 'Hey, look at me. Look how good I look in my uniform.' And not getting ready for the game. That's got to stop. That's our fault. That's my fault."

Poor starting field position has been an issue, with the Razorbacks taking possession at or inside their 10-yard line eight times, but they also have eight three-and-out possessions.

"We've got to get our players going in pregame warmups," Pittman said. "We've got to knock heads a little bit, we've got to run routes faster, we've got to catch balls. We didn't hardly catch a ball in pregame [at Auburn]. Therefore we started very slow.

"I believe everything matters. I believe everything correlates to winning if you do it the correct way, and we did not. And it starts in pregame warmups."

1995 redux

Auburn's 30-28 victory over Arkansas happened to be the same score as the game between the teams 25 years ago, but with a different victor.

The Razorbacks beat the No. 11 Tigers 30-28 in Little Rock on Oct. 28, 1995.

Those are the only two SEC games Arkansas has played where the final score was 30-28.

Bottom of T.O.P.

Arkansas and Ole Miss, two of the many uptempo offensive attacks in the FBS, rank near the very bottom in the country in time of possession.

The Razorbacks are last in the SEC and 71st in the FBS with an average of 25:12 per game, meaning their opponents have the ball for 34:48 on average. Ole Miss is only slightly better, ranking 12th in the SEC and 64th in the country with an average possession time of 27:14 per game.

The Rebels are ahead of only Tennessee (26:47) and Arkansas in that department in the SEC.

Hornung nod

The Arkansas defense had its toughest day of the season at Auburn, and one of the results was a national award recognition for a top Tiger.

Auburn freshman tailback Tank Bigsby was one of four players to earn a spot on the Paul Hornung Award honor roll, which recognizes the nation's most versatile players.

Bigsby, a true freshman, posted 268 all-purpose yards on 28 touches against the Razorbacks. He rushed 20 times for a career-best 146 yards, caught 4 passes for 16 yards, and had 4 kickoff returns for 106 yards.

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