Sam Pittman has been putting together quite the offseason at Arkansas. Despite some early skepticism, fans and the media alike have come around on the hiring. While Pittman still has a lot to prove, he’s made all the right moves so far.
Fixing The Offense
Pittman is one of the best offensive line coaches and recruiters in the nation. While Pittman can clearly handle those things, he needed a play caller.
The hiring of Kendal Briles was a major step in the right direction. Despite the murky past of Briles time at Baylor, he is one of the better offensive minds in the country. Looking strictly at his coaching history, he helped the liked of Bryce Petty and RG3 develop into top quarterbacks. He also had an impressive run of dominant running backs during his time at Baylor. His system is also similar to Chad Morris’; which should help as Morris had some solid recruiting classes during his short tenure.
A big question was fixing the offense and more important was who would the QB be. Enter Feleipe Franks.
I’m not going to pretend Franks is an elite QB or the savior for Arkansas. This will likely be a rollercoaster ride as it was in Florida. However; Franks brings in a veteran presence and worked with Dan Mullins, a top QB coach. If nothing else, Franks will push a young QB room and bring out the best through competition.
While Franks has had a real up and down career, getting together with Briles could be a great combo. Franks has had success in the SEC and has a NY6 Bowl win under his belt. There is also talent at Arkansas with Rakeem Boyd and Trey Knox. Franks is the perfect gap QB to let the younger guys learn and avoid another 2-10 season.
Strength And Conditioning Staff
Often overlooked but incredibly important is the strength and conditioning coach Pittman hired. Jamil Walker was brought over from Georgia and is considered a rising star in college football. Pittman also brought over Ed Ellis to help Walker navigate his first tie running a program.
This may not be major news but it can change a program. Schools like Notre Dame, Alabama and Georgia have been spending more and bringing in the best for their S+C programs in recent years. They control the trajectory of the program and keep a team going late into November.
Sam Pittman isn’t an X’s and O’s guy. I mentioned in a previous article for this to work he would need to take a Coach O or Dabo role. That is exactly what Pittman is doing. Surrounding himself with some of the top talent in the country will pay off both in game and on the recruiting trail.
Arkansas looked to be in trouble as their coaching search was drying up. Pittman continues to be the steady hand moving forward with great hires and solid recruiting.