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Hogs' Win Tale of Two Halves, Pittman Sees Positives

Arkansas coach Sam Pittman doesn't want to dwell on a sloppy first half against Rice but thinks they will improve ... and they better.

If you want to have a positive outlook on this week's game with Texas just don't re-watch Arkansas' first half against Rice.

Sam Pittman probably won't watch it much.

"We did about everything we could do wrong in the first half," he said later.

Center snaps popping up, a blocked punt because Shane Clenin imitated a statue, dropped passes, center snaps hitting motion guys were all part of a first half where if you looked away you might miss something going wrong.

"There was a lot of bad stuff out there," Pittman said, "that looked like it wasn't a very well-coached team and that's me. That is nobody else. That's me. We'll get better."

Actually, Pittman is wrong and covering for a lot of folks. He doesn't coach them to screw up, doesn't encourage it and probably won't put up with it much.

Publicly, he's not going to throw anybody else under the bus. Privately I have no idea but my guess is the film sessions won't exactly be pleasant. Pittman knows how to coach-speak publicly and privately.

Blame him if you want, but coaches don't encourage mistakes. The ones who hang around awhile fix it by fixing the assistant coaches.

That's what happened at halftime Saturday. For some reason they kept trying to get everything outside against the Owls instead of taking advantage of their size and talent edge just running straight ahead.

"You gotta look in the mirror on things going wrong," he said. "We talked about running the ball up the gut and we were trying to get the ball outside too much. Rice had more speed, not size."

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Exactly why nobody thought about that until halftime is kinda interesting, but it wouldn't be the first time coaches over-thought something.

"We talked about adjusting that," he said of the halftime conversation. "Run the ball right at 'em. Get KJ involved in the running game. That's what we did."

The game turned when they started doing that.

Fans get caught up remembering the first half right now. It's the opening game of what is going to be a long season.

If teams play their best in the first half of the first game of the year, well, it's probably going to be a disappointing season.

The Hogs got better all the way to the end Saturday.

"At the end of the game, we finished the game," Pittman said. That's not babble. It means they were playing through the very last whistle.

"You can't play an entire game and only talk about the first half," he said. "We did win 38-17. There are some good things to build on, too. We'll do both of those."

The only problem is Texas is coming to town this week. Make no mistake about it, this will be a crazy week in Fayetteville.

But it's not the biggest game.

The hope is that is in November.