FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas coach Sam Pittman announced this week that former wide receiver Warren Thompson has received a scholarship.
Speaking on his weekly radio show Wednesday night at the Catfish Hole restaurant, Pittman said Thompson got his financial aid long before his 60-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter of the weekend’s 45-10 win. last end against Georgia Southern.
“He got a scholarship right before school started,” Pittman said. “I told him at fall camp, ‘I won’t give you a scholarship until you toughen up and block someone.’ I knew he could catch and he could run, but it’s half. He started blocking better and he knocked down a few guys in practice, and I called him into my office.
“I wanted to offer him a scholarship. That’s the beauty of being a head coach; you understand people’s financial backgrounds and different things. You want to help them, but you want them to earn it.
Pittman has indicated that Thompson is one of the many good blockers in the Razorbacks receiving body. Pittman said the group’s blocking improved after the game against Texas, when some field goals were the result of receivers missing downstream blocks on plays that would otherwise have been touchdowns.
“A good tackle has to be a willful tackle,” Pittman said. “He must want to do this to begin with. (Receiver Coach Kenny) Guiton did a great job and the kids did a great job because they understand it’s a huge part of the game.
The outside block was key to the Razorbacks’ longest game against Georgia Southern, a 91-yard touchdown reception by Treylon Burks, who caught the ball on the line of scrimmage. Pittman said tight end Blake Kern and wide receiver Tyson Morris were successful in blocking Burks.
“The blockade made the difference,” Pittman said. “If they miss the block it’s a gain of 2 yards.”
Pittman said the best offensive play this year was the result of receiver block – a 30-yard touchdown taken by Raheim “Rocket” Sanders in the win over Texas.
“Tyson Morris made the block,” Pittman said, “and when Rocket passed him you would have thought (Morris) scored the touchdown because of his enthusiasm. That’s when you got it. the team.
Blocking, mostly along the line of scrimmage, will be key to Saturday’s game between the No.16 Razorbacks and No.7 Texas A&M in Arlington, TX.
“I think that will be the story of the game, to be honest with you,” Pittman said. “Who can whip who?”
“You’re going to lose a few battles on both sides of the ball, but it’s going to be about who can support it for 60 minutes and who can play when you need to play. I love the way our guys have been playing all year so I don’t know why we would be concerned about this Saturday.
The Aggies (3-0) have one of the best defensive lines in the country. And while Texas A&M had to replace four offensive line starters a year ago, Pittman is well aware of the Aggies’ potential in this area.
“I know they have good offensive linemen because they beat me when I was trying to recruit them in Georgia,” Pittman said. “They’re not that experienced up there, but a lot of talent.”
Pittman’s own offensive line has question marks going into the game. Center Ricky Stromberg (knee) and tackle Dalton Wagner (full back) left Georgia Southern with injuries and neither trained for the first two days of the week.
Pittman didn’t deal with any of the injuries, but tackled solid offensive line play without them in the second half of Georgia Southern’s game, when only left tackle Myron Cunningham played in the same position he started on. match.
Starting right goalie Beaux Limmer played left goalie; starting left goalie Brady Latham moved on to the right tackle; and Ty Clary and Luke Jones played center and right respectively. Clary also spent time playing guard and tackle.
“I don’t think the fans noticed a difference and that’s the key,” Pittman said. “You have to be ready. “
Cunningham, who, along with defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols, was one of two players featured on Wednesday’s show, said various groups across the offensive line are confident.
“Whether or not it was… Brady played a lot on the right tackle or Ty in the middle or whatever, I have enormous confidence in them every time they come on the pitch with me,” said Cunningham.
The offensive line played well throughout Georgia Southern’s game, Pittman said. He said the happiest moment was when the Razorbacks ‘second team defense forced the Eagles’ last punt, and Arkansas second team offense held the ball for the final. of the match 5:37.
“We were able to milk the 40-second clock and stay on the football field,” Pittman said.
Arkansas’ offense was averaging 12 yards per game on the first down on Saturday, a bit bloated because the long touchdown passes to Burks and Thompson – as well as a 47-yard pass to Morris in the first snap. offensive of the Razorbacks – took place during this decline.
Burks and Morris’s catches came one play after a punt, but Thompson’s were set up because of the previous play, a pass from KJ Jefferson to De’Vion Warren in the third and fifth.
“We’re so aware of the first try,” Pittman said. “Our offense knows if we can get the first first down, we can get an octane, we can start rolling. I’m saying if we can win first, we can stay on the pitch, and we’ve proven that much better this year.
Early tries were also essential in defense, Pittman said. Opponents convert first tries on just 27.7% of their third tries against Arkansas. This rate is the third best in the SEC and the 14th nationally.
“Our defense right now puts teams behind the chains early on, which for us would be three yards or less on the first down,” Pittman said. “We get a better passing rush and that makes it harder… for them to stay on the pitch for their offense.