Clear communication style at UA

FAYETTEVILLE – As coach Sam Pittman’s directive, virtually all of the most important training instructions and corrections during training camp at the University of Arkansas have been positive.

Offensive line coach Cody Kennedy yelled at the start of camp, “You can’t lift if you’re high!” during the first moments of the drilling work. “Hit low and lift!”

Running backs coach Jimmy Smith was particularly impressed with a blocking rep made when starting trailback Trelon Smith early in camp.

“I love him. I love him. I love him!” Smith yelled at the junior. “Shoot at the hands!” “

Pittman said he hires assistants based on their ability to communicate.

“I am the worst there,” he said. “I hired guys because of the way they talk to kids and how they can relate to kids and how they can motivate kids and how they can teach them. I think that’s exactly what we do. have.

“I want a guy who if we make a mistake here it’s not ‘You’re sorry [so and so], ‘it’s’ Hey, I’ll teach you how to do something good. “”

Pittman said he liked the coaching staff.

“I think they work hard, I think they are knowledgeable, and more importantly I think they can make their kids play for them because they respect them. You know our mouths are very , very powerful, ”he said. “And the way they talk to kids, I think they respect that.”

Quarterback KJ Jefferson said yes.

“It’s a good thing because it just helps instill confidence in the whole team and congratulate everyone and let them know that they are doing something right and that they keep working on it,” said said Jefferson.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kendal Briles doesn’t scold bad plays or read his accusations.

“Every now and then he might pull me to the side,” Jefferson said. “He’s not going to yell at me. Maybe he’ll pull me aside and say, ‘What do you think? I feel like you should have done it that way, “and then it goes from there.”

Defensive coordinator Barry Odom recently said the biggest draw in his decision to return for a second season was to stay with Pittman. They walk together almost every day.

Odom, who has expressed a desire to land another head coaching position like the one he held in his alma mater Missouri from 2015 to 2019, turned down larger offers over the winter to stay with Pittman for a second season.

“It’s a wonderful place,” Odom said. “I couldn’t think of a better person to work for than Sam Pittman and [Athletic Director] Hunter Yurachek. “

The Razorbacks – in search of their first victorious season since 2016, the year after Pittman left for Georgia after a three-year stint as Bret Bielema’s offensive-line assistant coach – clung to the Pittman’s positivity.

Instilling the belief that they could win games last fall has been a big part of Razorbacks’ season 3-7. Assistant coaches all deliver lessons and teachings from the Pittman playbook.

“I think that is because Coach Pittman is a great person,” said linebacker Bumper Pool of the assistants’ approach to teaching. “They want to coach hard for him, and he wants to be a great head coach for all of his assistant coaches.

“It affects the whole team. Our coaches have a very strong demeanor. They want to win as much as us and as much as Coach Pittman.”

Cornerback coach Sam Carter, one of the nation’s top scouts, has called Pittman arguably the best head coach in the country.

“You are in training, [you see] the way he talks to our guys, ”Carter said. “This is real love. Lots of coaches talk about it, but Coach Pittman shows it every day. I think he is the best leader I have known, apart from Coach Odom. These two together, it’s amazing. “

Carter said Odom’s decision to return was a huge advantage for the Razorbacks.

“We took a hiatus this summer, he was offering different things, different defenses that he wanted to lead,” Carter said. “I’m so glad he stayed. I don’t want him to leave. As long as Coach Pittman wants him here, I want him here too. Don’t go, Coach Odom.”

Pittman says he will not have assistants to reprimand the players. His philosophy is that the loudest remarks players should hear from coaches are praise. Criticism is more for side conversations, and never over the top.

“He didn’t hire guys to yell at guys,” Carter said. “He hired them to coach them. The guys are going to mess it up, it’s college football. They don’t get paid $ 20 million. NFL guys mess it up.

“But if you train them and talk to them, you’ll get more out of it. You don’t have to insult or disrespect them. These guys have families, some of whom come from different backgrounds. So if you want to Talk- just them and get to know them, they will do anything for you if they know you care about them.

Senior tackle Myron Cunningham and junior defensive end Zach Williams said Pittman instilled confidence by making players believe they could win.

“He inspires a lot of things that the previous people really didn’t have, and he’s really got his feet on the ground,” said Williams. “He’s just a guy to fight for, and that’s really all I have to say about it.”

Cunningham added: “I think Coach Pittman… inspires us to be great, and he just instills in us that every Saturday we go out to play. I mean, when we’re behind Coach Pittman, we don’t. need nothing else. “

Arkansas cornerback coach Sam Carter said coach Sam Pittman hires assistant coaches who want to coach players, not yell at them. (NWA Democrat-Gazette / Andy Shupe)

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