Pittman reacts to Hogs winning 2nd SEC game
College Students, get a year of HawgBeat coverage for just $11.95. Request details via email from your school account (.edu) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAYETTEVILLE — In just four weeks, Sam Pittman has won double the amount of SEC games as Arkansas won the previous three seasons combined.
The Razorbacks picked up their second win of the season by beating Ole Miss 33-21 on Saturday and have snapped multiple losing streaks on their way to starting the 10-game, all-SEC schedule with a 2-2 mark.
A 12-game SEC home skid is the latest streak to end, as Arkansas went nearly an entire presidential term without winning a conference game at home. Its last such win came on Nov. 5, 2016, when it upset No. 10 Florida.
For a team pretty much unanimously picked to finish last in the SEC West, it was a huge win for the first-year coach as he continues to try to turn the program around.
“I say damn too much, but I am damn proud of this football team,” Pittman said. “Who in the world wouldn't be if you are an Arkansas fan? We always find something we have to get better at and we will. That's our job, but our kids deserve to be happy tonight and celebrate.”
Pittman admitted after the game that he was “down for about two or three seconds” when athletics director Hunter Yurachek informed him Florida and Georgia would be his two extra opponents from the East, but the feeling didn’t last long.
In fact, when asked if he was surprised by how well the team has played compared to his expectations entering the season, he said he felt like the Arkansas program was supposed to be this competitive.
“Hell, I thought we were going to win them all,” Pittman said. “The expectations weren’t high outside the building, but in the athletic department and in our locker room, they’re as high as they possibly can be.
“I’m not surprised that we beat Ole Miss today. I wasn’t surprised we beat Mississippi State. I wasn’t surprised we were in the ballgame at Auburn.”
That confidence shouldn’t be misinterpreted as gloating, though.
Given several opportunities during his postgame interview to take credit for the drastic turnaround, Pittman constantly pushed the praise toward his staff and players. He even thought it was funny when fans cheered for him as he walked off the field.
“On the sidelines, coming in, they were all yelling at me,” Pittman said. “Hell, I didn’t do nothing. I just stood out there, watched the game, had a good time, had the best seat in the house and everybody’s, ‘Hey coach!’ I mean, ‘ol (Hudson) Clark got three picks and (Grant) Morgan took one back. I didn’t do nothing.”
If the controversial call at the end of the Auburn game had gone its way, Arkansas would be 3-1 and likely be ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 2016.
Even without that win, though, it’s become abundantly clear that the Razorbacks are no longer pushovers in the SEC. They’ve led after halftime in all four games and never trailed in their two victories.
“Tonight they get to go out and be what the Arkansas fans should be - that's happy and celebrating and having their chest stuck out,” Pittman said. “That's what needed to be done for a long time and we're just honored to be a part of it.”