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Running Whole Offense: Backup QB Malik Hornsby Needs to Run Everything

Arkansas coach Sam Pittman expects offense to get better when the No. 2 quarterback has to come in down the road.

What was it, just a couple of weeks ago there was chatter among some that maybe Arkansas would be better at quarterback with Malik Hornsby?

That actually happened Saturday in the 20-10 win over Texas A&M and, well, the results probably proved why that wasn't really a consideration.

"it was big-time beneficial," Sam Pittman said at his Monday press conference. "He had been in a game or two before that, but not in those circumstances."

When KJ Jefferson went down with what was later diagnosed as a bruised knee, Hornsby came in and it appeared the primary interest of offensive coordinator Kendal Briles was not blow a lead against the Aggies.

A lot of Razorback fans were holding their breath. They had seen similar leads disappear in the last quarter of those games.

READ MORE: What Sam Pittman picked up working for Kirby Smart

Briles, understandably, wasn't going to put Hornsby in a position to blow it. While there was some talking heads yakking Monday about the lack of passing, that's not completely a lack of confidence.

It likely is more a lack of practice reps getting ready for the game. They don't get as many as the starter in practice.

When the backup comes in during the second half with a lead, you don't want to shoot yourself in the foot.

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Pittman knows that.

"We’ve got to throw the ball when he’s in there," Pittman. "I know what Kendal was doing.

"He probably felt like I was like, ‘Don’t throw the ball. We’ve got the lead. Let’s see if we can run it, use him as a runner,’ things of that nature."

READ MORE: What Pittman wants to see next time Hornsby has to fill in at QB

It didn't work out that bad.

""It was a big role for Malik to come in and step up the way he did," said wide receiver Treylon Burks after the game. "You know, led us to a field goal which was big, put us up by 10."

That included a big pass to Burks. But now he's gotten the first appearance in a pressure-packed situation out of the way, look for things to be different if he has to come in again.

"Instead of having a package for him we’ve got to run our offense," Pittman said. "You certainly can handle in it different ways, and he’s handled it great."

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