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Pittman Probably Noticed Bielema's Plan in Win

Former Hogs coach Bret Bielema had the ideal offensive plan against Nebraska and Sam Pittman may have a similar idea.

Whether you like him or not former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema had a pretty good game plan in his first game at Illinois on Saturday.

It was one his former offensive line coach, Sam Pittman, probably recognized.

And it just might be the plan he has in mind for Rice.

Bielema had the plan he likes best: Ground-and-pound an opponent into submission, which is what he did in the first half and held on to get a win in the end.

Pittman, though, isn't playing a conference opponent. The Hogs get Rice and they aren't as good as Nebraska.

While Rice coach Mike Bloomgren talked Tuesday about his team playing with "intellectual brutality," his roster is a little light to back that up against an SEC team.

Pittman and Kendal Briles probably know all they have to do is run the ball right at the under-sized Owls, hit some play-action passes and play defense.

It's basic football. The Razorbacks' offensive two-deep averages 319 pounds per player. Rice's defensive front averages 272 pounds.

"We're thinking they're going to run odd and even front," Hogs offensive tackle Myron Cunningham said Tuesday afternoon. "We know they like to build the Bear a lot, start in a split front and shoot the backers based on where the running back is at. That's what they like to do."

The translation of that is they are going to have five people on the line with the Hogs having a weight advantage of nearly 50 pounds per man.

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Pittman may tell offensive coordinator Kendal Briles to keep the ball on the ground with tempo and have a shuttle system with several running backs.

We'll see how long the Owls' under-sized front can keep up with that in what is likely to be around 90 degrees Saturday.

Bloomgren sounds like he's hoping Briles can't be that patient.

"Against a tempo team like Arkansas and the way Kendal does things, you’re gonna need some people to jump in there," he said Tuesday, saying he's confident he's got the depth to keep up. "You’re gonna need the ability to roll people in there that you can trust to get in and do their job. And once again reset and be ready to fight the moment the ball turns over. We’ve got a group of guys who want to do that."

He probably can't even completely convince himself of that but has to at least say that publicly these days.

The only way the Hogs can mess this up is want to get fancy and find out if KJ Jefferson can be accurate in a game with a big crowd, a loud band and all the hoopla.

Somehow it's hard to see an old offensive line coach like Pittman at least trying to do anything except run the ball right at the Owls.

Of course they are going to try and do the same thing to the Hogs.

This game could be the cure for insomnia.

And the key will be Arkansas' defense being able to get off the field on third down and limit Rice getting first downs.

If it ends with the Hogs getting a win, though, fans won't raise many objections.