Arkansas Football: Sam Pittman Tests Positive for COVID-19

FAYETTEVILLE, AR – OCTOBER 17: Head Coach Sam Pittman of the Arkansas Razorbacks on the field before a game against the Mississippi Rebels at Razorback Stadium on October 17, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Rebels 33-21. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Arkansas football head coach Sam Pittman tested positive positive for COVID-19 Monday morning. This comes after a big SEC home win Saturday against the Tennessee Volunteers. Although what seems to be a crucial hit to the program at the moment, here’s some key things about this news.

Sam Pittman has been a monumental breath of fresh air to Arkansas and razorback fans across the country. His impact on the locker room and on the sidelines makes this very difficult for Arkansas fans, knowing that he will not be with the team this week as they take on the number six ranked Florida Gators. Although he is asymptomatic, Sam Pittman self isolated himself after testing positive.

Florida, who has also had their fair share of COVID-19 related issues this season, is coming off a huge SEC East win against Georgia. With a high powered offense led by quarterback Kyle Trask, this is a big test for Arkansas, and could be even bigger with Sam Pittman not being on the sidelines.

One thing that we do know is that defensive coordinator Barry Odom will have his work cut out for him, as he has been named interim head coach while Sam Pittman is out. Hogs can let out a sigh of relief with that news, as Barry Odom has head coaching experience in the SEC and is a wonderful leader. One thing to watch is how Odom is able to keep the team focused this week and balance the responsibilities of a head coach with also making sure the defense is ready for what Florida will throw at them. One thing the defense will not have to worry about is star tight end for Florida, Kyle Pitts, who went out during last Saturday’s game after a brutal hit against Georgia

This week will be a bit different in terms of preparation for the hogs. I would not be surprised if a day of practice is missed due to COVID-19 protocols. We could have a few hogs missing for Saturdays game due to possible positive tests along with the regular injury report. Contact tracing is going to follow the hogs all week, and Sam Pittman as well, as we saw the coach have multiple interactions with players and coaches after last Saturday’s game against Tennessee.

From what Sam Pittman has instilled and drilled into the mind and hearts of this team, the players will be focused and still work hard in Pittman’s absence. Barry Odom will have this team ready, and we will also see Kendal Briles help step up and keep the team on the right track headed into Gainesville Saturday. We here at the Razorbackers wish Sam Pittman a speedy recovery and hope to see him on the sidelines next week.

FAYETTEVILLE, AR – NOVEMBER 24: Head Coach Barry Odom of the Missouri Tigers on the sidelines during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 24, 2017 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)