How Sam Pittman’s Confidence Translates to More Wins For Arkansas

Will the newfound confidence for Sam Pittman and the Arkansas Razorbacks after an outstanding 2021 translate to more wins?

The head Hog, Sam Pittman, started the Wednesday slate of coaches for SEC Media Days in Atlanta with passion and confidence in his words. Pittman spoke with assertion and didn’t mince his feelings about why he had made certain decisions in the offseason. In an event full of sound bites from every team, one team stood out: the University of Arkansas. The Pittman effect is taking hold of not only the state of Arkansas but, based on the events in Atlanta, it’s now the entire nation. Could Pittman get more wins for the Arkansas Razorbacks with his confidence and newfound culture?

What did he say?

Pittman started by thanking the SEC commissioner, Greg Sankey, for his kind words during his introduction, then sprung into what fans across the nation took immediate notice to. After recapping last season’s success and what players were in attendance to meet with the media, he made his first of many statements that resonated throughout the day.

When referring to the criticism of the team receiving Outback Bowl Championship rings, he said, “April 22nd, we handed out bowl rings. People ask, why do you hand out a ring for Outback Bowl? Because I wanted to. Because it’s something, nobody on our team had accomplished.” He continued by asserting, “You can set goals. Once you reach one, that ain’t the goal, that’s one of ’em. Once you reach that goal, we’re going to celebrate it, then we’re going to move on. That was the last time our team talked about last year.”

Winning Culture & Celebrating Arkansas

This statement spoke to Pittman creating a winning culture and celebrating victories this university and program hadn’t seen since the 2011 season. The rings exhibit a goal that has been achieved as a team and with each individual. The memory will remain with these young men for life.

Perhaps this most significant statement of the day was when Pittman spoke about the meaning of being an Arkansas Razorback. The purpose of playing for the state that Pittman is proud to coach. He said, “We’d like our program to reflect our state, the great state of Arkansas. Loyal, tough, hard-working. One of our goals every year is to make the state of Arkansas proud of the football team. In my office is a sign that says, You’re not coming to play for the University of Arkansas, you’re coming to play for the state of Arkansas. And it’s true, true to the core.” This confidence for the Arkansas Razorbacks could lead to more wins, but how?

What has this confidence affected?

Transfer Portal/Recruitment

This confidence has awakened a new talent from the transfer portal and high school recruits for Arkansas. The Pittman effect has impacted the roster immediately via the transfer portal. Players such as Drew Sanders via Alabama and Jadon Haselwood from Oklahoma, it is now popular to be in Fayetteville. This program ranked 10th in the transfer rankings according to 24/7 sports. This is proof that Pittman’s words are reaching the nation.

On the high school recruiting side, the Hogs finished 2022 with a 28th national ranking per 24/7 sports. Arkansas signed 21 players in this class, highlighted by hometown talent Isaiah Sategna from Fayetteville High. Pittman has been touted as one of the nation’s best recruiters, and the 2022 class mixed with the current #13 rank for 2023 shows just how talented he is. Pittman proves that a talented roster can consistently happen with the right culture and processes. How high could the Hogs climb in the national rankings?

 Wins and Production on Field

All fans can see the difference in wins for this program in recent seasons. Most fans may not understand that last season, with the nine wins, Arkansas equaled more than the previous three seasons by two wins. Wins in College Football are hard to come by but imagine being in the SEC West every season. Under Pittman, Arkansas has become a physical team that runs first. Last season the Hogs established a running attack by a committee that finished in the top 10 nationally in rushing. This, combined with a promising quarterback in KJ Jefferson, this team could very well exceed its nine wins in 2021. Pittman has the attention of the entire SEC based on the Hogs’ schedule this season, and the nation will likely also take notice.

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Fan Attendance

Hog’s fans came out to Donald W Reynolds Razorback Stadium in 2021. The Razorbacks reported 456,991 attendees at its seven home games. The Hogs played six games in Fayetteville and one in Little Rock. In the six games in Fayetteville, Arkansas averaged 69,069 per game and 42,576 against Arkansas Pine Bluff in Little Rock. The largest crowd was against Texas on September 11th, when 74,531 Hog fans watched their Razorbacks win 40-21. The capacity for DWR Stadium is 76,412, and War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock has a total capacity of 54,120.

These attendance numbers were the highest since the 2018 season, when 487,067 Razorback fans attended six games in Fayetteville and one in Little Rock. Arkansas’ total attendance for 2021 ranks them 19th nationally and 9th in the SEC. These numbers will continue to grow with the sustained success of the program.

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Pittman made a significant statement in Atlanta with his comments and demeanor. These qualities have transferred to the product in the locker room and field. In 2021, the Hogs accomplished many feats, the challenges of 2022 will be a great litmus test of where this program is. With the season approaching, it’s time to see if this confidence for the Arkansas Razorbacks wins games.

 

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