Arkansas Razorbacks 2020 Fall Camp Notebook: Scott Fountain discusses special teams philosophies
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HawgBeat Camp Notebook: Fountain discusses special teams philosophies

Scott Fountain is Arkansas' special teams coordinator.
Scott Fountain is Arkansas' special teams coordinator. (Arkansas Athletics)

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FAYETTEVILLE — When Arkansas’ special teams got off to an abysmal start in 2018, one of the solutions by the previous staff was to use more starters from offense and defense on the third phase of the game.

Under new head coach Sam Pittman, that will be the case from the jump, as special teams coordinator Scott Fountain has included that in his philosophy for about a decade.

“What I’ve always looked at is if a kid starts on offense or defense, let’s get him on two units,” Fountain said. “If he’s a guy who doesn’t (start), he just plays a role on offense or defense, let’s get him on four units if he’s good enough.”

That’s the general rule Fountain uses, but it can be tweaked on a player-by-player basis. For example, when he was at Auburn, defensive back Rudy Ford was on three units. In big games like the Iron Bowl against Alabama, that’d increase to four units.

Offensive and defensive starters - and their backups - get the most attention on special teams, but Fountain said he also tries to find a few walk-ons or scout team players who are capable of contributing.

“If you can find three or four guys that, boy, they just play teams, that’s really an awesome deal,” Fountain said. “They may be a backup of whatnot, but sometimes those guys are your best special teams players.”

Reed’s Consistency

One of five graduate transfers signed in their 2020 class, fifth-year senior A.J. Reed is the Razorbacks’ presumed starting placekicker.

“A.J.’s done a good job,” Fountain said. “He had one week in there where he had a little bit of a lull, but for the most part he’s been a consistent guy.”

What Fountain really likes about Reed was how he fought through adversity during his time at Duke.

After struggling as a true freshman and battling back from an injury to regain his starting job, Reed was really good for the Blue Devils in 2019. He made 15 of 18 field goal attempts, including a career-long 51-yarder against Syracuse.

Reed’s competition is redshirt sophomore Matthew Phillips. Both kickers had a strong performance in Arkansas’ second scrimmage, making 4 of 5 field goals with a long of 52.

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