Sam Pittman press conference notes

Sam Pittman will speak with local reporters at noon. First time since the end of the Missouri game. I will post updates here once that gets going.


Maybe ask him when he expects a new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Who will lead defense in bowl game. Why this is taking so long. Does he expect to lose any More assistants

• With Coach Leach passing, what a wonderful guy. I enjoyed our conversations. Thoughts and prayers are with his family, the program, fan base and players, and everyone he impacted. We’re going to adjust practice one day next week to be able to honor him properly.

• Ben Sowders is the new strength coach and has been here a couple of weeks. Like his energy. Morgan Turner is the tight ends coach. I felt like he was as good as any TE coach in the country. His resume speaks for itself.

• We will practice today, Saturday and over the next 12 days. We’ll practice nine of the days. Won’t get into Kansas prep until Monday.

• The DC hire, we’re closing in on that. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do as far as announcing that. It is so close to signing day. I’m weighing a lot of things, including recruiting here and elsewhere.

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• On the chaotic month of December: It’s not sustainable. The time frame from the NCAA has to change. It’s a lot right now, but everybody is having to deal with it. I’m happy for Barry Odom and Dowell Loggains that they got jobs, but that adds to it, as well. We went out and tried to hit all 23 commits in the first week so we could kind of fly around to different portal guys and make that a priority, as well. Trying to add two coaches, that adds to it, then the bowl game, then the portal. There’s a lot going on in the portal. It giveth and it taketh.


• Some of the portal losses: I was surprised a little bit by Trey Knox and Ketron Jackson. There’s a lot of factors in that. We’ll support those guys any way we can. Once you go in the portal, you can’t come back. I’ve said that, but you change a little bit. We haven’t brought anybody back lately from the portal. There’s a lot of different things going on out there in the NCAA that I wouldn’t consider on the up-and-up. It’s confusing sometimes for a young man and it’s tough on them.

• On Barry Odom leaving: I was really happy for him and UNLV. They got a really good coach and man. UNLV caught me off guard. Tulsa, I knew about that, but not a whole lot about UNLV. I was kind of prepared for that because he’s got opportunities. A little bit surprised. Dowell’s job was not surprising. I talked to Shane Beamer about him.

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Didn’t Jalen St. John come back?

I think he meant, you CAN come back

• On what ideal DC hire direction: We need a guy that can recruit. I’ll never forget when I went to Georgia and Kirby Smart said, ‘You need to change your room,’ talking about recruiting. I want a good man, one that gets along with his staff and that players respect. I am looking for some aggressiveness. I think I’ve found it in 2-3 guys.

• On the WR room: KJ has Mbake, Bryce Stephens, Jaedon Wilson, Isaiah Sategna. We’re a little short there in numbers and experience. Landon Rogers, Chris Harris, Harper Cole, it’s time for these guys. Hudson Henry is going to play in the bowl, and we found out yesterday that Ty Washington can play. We were previously going to hold him at four games.

Like MH last year? :thinking:

He has said before that he didn’t want people back who had entered the portal, but then he let St. John come back, IIRC

• On linebackers without Sanders and Pool: Mani Powell is a guy, certainly. Brooks Both, as well, and Jackson Woodard can move up. I think Pooh Paul and Jordan Crook will lead the group with Woodard and Powell. Kaden Henley will have to step up, as well.

• Jalen St. John is still suspended indefinitely and Taurean Carter will not play in the bowl. Carter’s situation is still with the injury. He’s moving and doing good things, but if you can hold him one more game, it gives him more healing and improvement.

I think his philosophy on that has changed.

He said “can’t,” but you change your mindset on that over time. I wrote that right after.


Pittman was saying he has changed his approach on going to the portal. Previously he said you can’t come back. He has softened on that way of thinking because the portal is so prevalent.

There were some outliers in the past like Hornsby and St. John because they did not miss any workouts while they were in the portal. Both changed their mind within a week.


• I don’t think we have anyone in the portal on our end that we’re going to have back.

• Roster needs/priorities: We need to add some receivers. We may need to add a tight end, and we want a premier pass rusher. I think we need some vet linebackers and more players in the secondary.

• On TE coach Morgan Turner: I talked to David Shaw, and Turner’s dad. I talked to a lot of people about him. Once I saw his resume, I wanted to hire him. I couldn’t find a reason not to. You’d be hard pressed to find a tight ends coach with more success than him. I think he made an impact on all of the tight ends we have committed.


Somewhat surprised by this.

• Plan for DC: Michael Scherer will call the game. We’ll go from there, but he will call the game. … I hope to retain Michael. Barry Odom has not spoken to me about it, and as of today Barry has not spoken to Michael about it. Michael has a job here as long as he wants it.

• On Scherer: I talked to Barry about it. All the guys on the defensive side are together on game plan and those things. I just talked to Barry.

• On Jalen Catalon: I think he’s going toward going into the portal, but I don’t believe that he has yet or anything of that nature. From my conversations with him today, I think he’s leaning that way. … I just think he wants a fresh start. I talked to him about if he was going to leave here, I would say just declare for the draft. We’ll be fine with what he decides. I think he’s leaning toward the portal.

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• On Jamil Walker: He’s a good man, a good coach. I just thought that we weren’t as strong as we needed to be. We just needed to make a change.

• I don’t believe OL Luke Jones will come back. I think a majority of the guys who can be super seniors will come back.

• On the rest of the staff: I feel really good about our staff. Whoever the DC will be, we’ll sit down and talk. I feel good about all of our guys.


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I think the NCAA has decided that if you only played in four regular season games, you can play in the bowl game as a fifth game without burning the redshirt. Had to do something with all of these opt-outs and portal departures.