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Hogs relish trashing old rival Texas

by Nate Allen | September 13, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE - Better to build on a dream with a theme than a scheme.

At least for a night, and cautiously wagered here long term, second-year Arkansas coach Sam Pittman proved on what to build upon at the expense of the then 15th-ranked Texas Longhorns his Razorbacks leveled.

Before an announced 74,541 overflowing Reynolds Razorback Stadium, with countless postgame storming the stadium's Frank Broyles Field in exuberant celebration, unranked then but now 24th in Sunday's Coaches poll Arkansas trounced old Southwest Conference rival eventually to become SEC rival Texas, 40-21.

Growing up a Razorbacks fan in nearby Grove, Okla. influenced by a Razorbacks loving uncle, Pittman coached Arkansas offensive line from 2013-2015 for Bret Bielema.

Pittman parted from Bielema and coached Georgia's offensive line from 2016-2019.

His heart never parted Arkansas. He yearned to come back and rebuild the Razorbacks, plummeted to new lows under the Hurry Up/Hammer Down scheme that Coach Chad Morris tried to sell but his new team didn't buy.

Pittman believed he could build a team the way he built Bielema's Arkansas offensive line, big if possible, but more than big always blue-collar and always physical.

It's what Pittman remembered growing up watching Frank Broyles and Lou Holtz's Razorbacks. The Hogs he inherited were eager to buy.

They bought it last year going 3-7 in an all-SEC schedule after SEC consecutive 0-8 and 0-8 under Morris.

Saturday night they not only bought it, they branded it on the Longhorns. The Longhorns forsake their finesse Big 12 corral for what awaits whenever they are contractually free to range in the SEC.

"If you want to enter this conference, you're going to get a little taste of it tonight," Arkansas senior linebacker Hayden Henry said after his game-leading 15 tackles. "We're not the biggest, baddest team in the SEC physically, but we play really hard. We play really tough. We don't back down from anybody."

Texas, infamous for hiring then impatiently firing national flavor of the month head coaching prospects, hired Steve Sarkisian off his schemes play-calling as Nick Saban's offensive coordinator for national champion Alabama.

Former University of Washington and University of Southern California head coach/ former NFL offensive coordinator Sarkisian is nationally respected for his offensive mind. He certainly pushed the right buttons for Saban's Tide like in Alabama, 52-3 annihilating Arkansas last year.

But pushing the right buttons for a 2020 Alabama offense filling 2021 NFL rosters isn't like masterminding these Longhorns rated high by recruiters but on the field exasperatingly, consistently inconsistent.

Sarkisian may eventually get Texas right though likely some big Texas hats already seek the next hot coaching prospect.

Meanwhile "I'm really blessed to be at Arkansas" Pittman down to earth enjoys Arkansas' beat Texas euphoria.

"We're going to lose a game eventually and all those things and people aren't going to like me so much," Pittman said. "But most of them like me right now and I like that."

Print Headline: Hogs relish trashing old rival Texas

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