Sam Pittman is scheduled to speak to reporters at 1:15 p.m. about the February signing period and staff additions. We are also going to hear from Marcus Woodson, Deron Wilson and Dan Enos. Updates will come here until around 2 p.m.
• Pittman opens by saying, “Welcome to Shamar Easter signing day.”
• We’re getting the band back together a little bit with Dan Enos being back. I’m really honored all of the new coaches decided to join the staff.
• We signed 20 high school players, and that should be our minimum. I think we still have to look at the portal, but we still need high school players. We have nine scholarships remaining. Twelve high school kids are here, and eight will be here in June. All the transfers are here. Really excited about where we are. Change can be looked at however you’d like, but I think we’ve changed for the better.
• Our No. 1 goal each year is to get everyone we offer in the state. I think we lost one a couple years ago. Our high school coaches in the state are good to us, and we want to be good to them, too. We have a lot of kids in next year’s class that we’re looking at.
• On the nine scholarships left and needs: I think right now we want the best players available. We could use another big guy inside on the D-line, or linebacker because of numbers, and the secondary. We’d entertain others there. And I’d maybe like one more guy who can snap the ball. We’ve got enough running backs, and we may be full at receiver, but we’d look at a dynamic guy. I don’t know about tight end. At quarterback, we’ve got enough.
• On Dan Enos and how he’ll mix in here: As soon as I found out there was interest for Briles to leave, I maybe took 10 minutes then went after Enos. You hire good people who are confident in themselves, and I was confident working with him. I hope he feels the same about me. Offensively, Dan has always run an offense around their personnel and talents, and that starts with the quarterback position. He knows what we have here at that position. Dan has been in multiple formations since Arkansas that I think he can adjust and bring here.
• When I interviewed Travis Williams, I knew he was the guy. He’s a very aggressive defensive guy. He’s a recruiter. Marcus Woodson, I thought he was the best defensive backs coach in America, and I thought what he did at Florida State proved that. Deron Wilson, he comes from a family of a coach and respected recruiter. He’s a different guy. He has Louisiana ties and we need to get going in that state a little bit more.
• Williams is the defensive coordinator. Woodson is the co-coordinator and deserved that title because of his experience. I’m going to let them split up duties however they see fit.
• Deron Wilson was a rising coach in this game. Marcus and Travis did a lot of interviewing, and when I got Deron on the phone, I knew he was the guy to hire. I knew some people who knew him. We interviewed a lot of guys, and we asked him to the prom first and he decided to come, Pittman said with a grin.
• Morgan Turner did a great job recruiting Shamar Easter. He has a way about him. He’s got a lot of guys who have gone to the NFL, and he’s got knowledge of the TE position. I think Shamar thought he visited another school and came back that he could grow here.
• On the transfer receivers: There were a lot of SEC programs that wanted these guys. There’s always a concern about why they went to a certain level in the first place, but talent-wise, no. I’m excited for y’all to watch them in the spring. They’re talented and they’re hungry.
Dan Enos on his offense: The great thing about this game is it’s constantly evolving. If not, you can be on the outside looking in. Trying to stay on the cutting edge of things, but I’ve learned different things at other stops since Arkansas about a decade ago. You want to do things your personnel can do.
Enos on KJ Jefferson: He kind of reminds me of Jalen Hurts a little bit, too. I’ve coached a lot of quarterbacks over the years, and they’re all different. The great ones I’ve coached, there have been some similar characteristics. KJ is a great passer and very athletic. That can put defenses in a bind.
Deron Wilson: What drew me here, Coach Pittman did. He’s a stand-up guy. I reached out to some mentors who knew him, and I heard good things. I got consistently good things in return when I asked about Coach Pittman. It was a natural mesh with Pittman, Coach Woodson and Coach Williams.
Marcus Woodson: I think this is the best staff in the country, and with us, you get what you see. You look at resources and connections and the network you can develop, you can open up doors that benefit you for life. Once you come visit, you don’t have to sell anything.
• Woodson: FSU was pretty bad in the secondary when I first got there, so it took some time and work to get to where we were last season. I want to be super competitive, compete every play. If we clean up some of the fundamentals, that’s going to fix some of the problems we’ve had.
• Enos: I didn’t know Coach Pittman when I first got here years ago. Then we hit it off. He promised me that there wasn’t an old stubborn guy on the staff this time around. This is a special place, a great place to be again.
• Woodson on Coach Williams: We were at Auburn together. We were similar to what Enos said about his relationship with Pittman. In terms of the defense, he’s the DC and the chief of the room and I’m an Indian. My sole focus is the back seven and trying to make this whole thing go. I’ll be right by his side and will help him in any way I can.
• Woodson: The kids from Baylor, we could tell they could help us. We found out they were the right fit, and Arkansas was a fit for them. We knew we had needs in the secondary. Snaxx Johnson is going to play corner for us. I’m challenging him to be more vocal so he can be a leader. But I also want him to be himself. I’m excited to have both the Baylor guys here.
• Enos: Having been a head coach, I think I’m a better assistant coach. There aren’t a lot of days off when you’re in the head chair. When I was done being a head coach and was being an assistant again, I asked what I can do to help the head coach do his job. I can bring some experiences to the assistants in the offensive staff room that may keep some things off the head coach’s plate.
Interesting he said Johnson from Baylor would play corner and we already have 2 solid CB.
Nickelback is a third corner, basically.
dont forget that the freshman wants to go back to WR too. So this might be what allows that to happen. I don’t want him to move back after what he showed us last year though. Dude is a baller!
No I don’t think he’s going back to WR. They asked him about that at the end of last year he said he will play wherever he’s needed. We are bringing in some stud WR so we really won’t need him on offense
Yeah that’s probably where he’s going to be
I took that statement as he will be designated as a corner. Hard to say with a great deal of certainty on Feb. 1 that someone will play lots of snaps at a position.
yeah we’ll know a lot more after spring training
It would be nice to have 4 to 6 that can rotate through the 2 corner positions and NB. That’s how the really good ones do it.
No big hole on defense because a guy turns his ankle and is hobbled a week or two.
You can’t have enough corners, or safeties, or linebackers, or defensive linemen.
You got it right.
We know this from experience.
I just saw the interview with the coaches and Marcus Woodson is really impressive and he is a very confident coach, saying that the talent is here to become one of the top defensive backfields in the SEC, they just need to clean up some fundamental, that would truly be quite a turn around.
I agree, I was very impressed with Woodson. His words and demeanor just exudes what a coach should be. I see a very bright future for him.