Everything Sam Pittman said after Arkansas fell to Missouri

One thing Sam Pittman has tried to be in his three years as Arkansas football coach is honest in his post-game press conferences.

When Pittman is asked a tough question, he tackles it. When he’s asked about something he doesn’t want to talk about, it appears he tries not to stretch the truth, but instead just change the subject and say, quite literally sometimes, that he doesn’t want to talk about it.

Pittman had to do both on Friday after Arkansas lost its regular-season finale to Missouri, 29-27, to fall to 6-6 on the year.

Arkansas lost on both sides of the ball, almost completely. The running game was well under its usual status. The Missouri offense was well above its usual status. Turnovers hurt. Sacks hurt. As Pittman said, Arkansas lost the physicality game just about the entire time.

Here’s what he had to say after the game from Columbia.

Sam Pittman's opening statement

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Sam Pittman watches team warm ups up against the Missouri Tigers prior to a game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulate Missouri for the win and getting bowl eligible. They played a very physical game. They out-physicaled us tonight on both sides of the ball. It’s unfortunate. WE had several chances to win the game and we couldn’t convert on offense and couldn’t stop them on defense. They had the more physical team tonight. To me, that and the way Cook played is the reason they won the game.”

Hogs stuffed at 2 in fourth quarter

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) runs as Missouri Tigers defensive back Martez Manuel (3) attempts a tackle during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I mean, we had three plays. We threw a couple passes if I remember correctly. Run-option passes. Tried a sneak and it was still 4th-and-2. About eight minutes left in the game. We felt like we could cut it to a field goal. We had three timeouts left. Obviously there was another opportunity there.”

Missouri logged seven sacks

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; A helmet of a Missouri Tigers player during the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

They whipped our butt, that’s what happened. They whipped us. They physically dominated us. They did in the run game and they did in the protection game. I don’t know how else to say it. We got dominated physically is what happened.”

Pass rush from nowhere?

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers head coach Eli Drinkwitz watches play against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

They’ve had times when they’ve, I mean, I don’t know about seven sacks, but they’ve had times when they’ve gotten after the quarterback … They were pushing the pocket. Wasn’t a place for KJ to go. We were getting beat around the edge and were so deep he couldn’t step up. They played inspired. I felt we were matching. It was a great game. It’s just we didn’t tackle well. We didn’t cover well. We didn’t protect well. We didn’t run-block well. Those are all physical things. We just couldn’t make enough plays to win it at the end.”

Trey Knox's "quarterback" sneak

Dec 5, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Trey Knox (7) reacts after a play against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

“It wasn’t there. There was a pair of shades. That one there, we should have went to something else there. It just wasn’t there. It was a surprise thing. We felt like we could sneak it in but it wasn’t there.”

Arkansas' offense at goal line was bad all year

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Matt Landers (3) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Missouri Tigers defensive back Kris Abrams-Draine (14) during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Very disappointing. I don’t know if we would have scored there if we had won the game or not. I do know we would have been ahead. Yeah, it’s disappointing. Your next decision is if you’re going to go for two or not. Yes, very disappointing. They played good defense down there. Certainly another physicality type deal and we just got whipped.:

Brady Cook dominated

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) runs against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

“Over the last two and a half games he has. Coach Drink had that in his gameplan that he was going to feature him. Over the last two and a half games he’s been their best runner. We had him hemmed and he’d bounce outside. We couldn’t ever get him turned back inside. … They only punted the one time in the first half, right before the half. We couldn’t tackle them or couldn’t cover them.”

Rocket Sanders only 10 carries

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Raheim Sanders (5) runs in for a touchdown as Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Johnny Walker Jr. (15) attempts the tackle during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I think that we were getting smashed in the run game and we were trying to find a way. Sometimes those are run-pass options. We were physically getting handled in the run game and we felt like we needed to throw it a little bit. … I thought we played a pretty good first half. No. We scored points in the first half to come back and make it 21-20. We were just never consistent.”

Myles Slusher quit, per Pittman

Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer (85) is tackled by Arkansas defensive back Myles Slusher (2) after a catch during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

He came in and we visited on Sunday and then Sunday evening he quit the team. Yeah (surprised). That’s it. I don’t want to talk about that anymore.”

Arkansas' decision to punt late

Nov 5, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks punter Reid Bauer (30) has his punt partially blocked by Liberty Flames safety AÕKhori Jones (29) during the first quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

It was 4th-and-8. Basically, you decide, this is the game. Again, you just have three plays and got two yards. I mean. The only question right there is do you think you can stop them in three downs and you have three timeouts. It’s a field-goal game. … Yes, I just kept feeling like if we could stop them in three downs we could get the ball back with a minute-and-a-half.”

Arkansas offensive line was brutal

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) runs as Missouri Tigers defensive back Martez Manuel (3) attempts a tackle during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I think it’s a combination. I think Missouri is good. To me that’s the difference with what they’ve done this year. They were ahead of Georgia out there. They’ve got a better team this year. The sacks, they came from, obviously, edge. We couldn’t handle the edge. When we did handle the edge, we got way too much pressure and push in the middle. Too much push for KJ. There wasn’t any areas for him to escape.”

Why did Arkansas score just once all year on opening drives?

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Sam Pittman, left, talks with Missouri Tigers head coach Eli Drinkwitz prior to a game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know. I wish I did. I wish I did know. They went down and kicked a field goal on their first drive. Took us another one to get going. We’ve tried all kinds of different things. One for the whole year is not very good. Have to get it fixed somehow.”

Arkansas lost close games all year

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) drops to throw against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I hate it. We’re trying. Those close ones, they hurt. They actually hurt the worst because you’re sitting there and thinking ‘maybe we could have done this’ with one play to change the outcome of the game. I think MIssouri has been in the same kind of boat this year. Usually in a season, they kind of even out. This season it hasn’t. We’ve lost every one of them that were a field goal or less. I’m not disappointed with the effort our guys gave. We just physically got whipped tonight.”

Arkansas bowl preferences

Jan 2, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks celebrate after the game against the Kansas State Wildcats at Liberty Bowl. Arkansas Razorbacks defeated the Kansas State Wildcats 45-23. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

We’re really fortunate to get bowl-eligible. The Las Vegas one is earlier, which, there is some recruiting things in that one that you would lose some time there. But other than that, I think the kids would love to go out there and have that time and all that. We’ve got the Liberty Bowl right up the road that we respect the people of Liberty Bowl and all that. Texas and Music City. Any of those would be wonderful. They’re only good if you win.”

Bumper Pool's NFL chances

Arkansas defensive back Bumper Pool (10) tackles Missouri running back Tyler Badie (1) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

Well, he had surgery on Wednesday. I think it went well. I know it did. He told me it went well. He was still a little loopy. Bless his heart, he went about as far as he could go for the Hogs and for the state. …

I think if he comes back healthy and feels good, I think he’ll give it a shot. I think if there’s anything coming from his surgery that he doesn’t feel good about, I think he wants to be a coach.”

Arkansas as a program next week

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) is tackled by Arkansas Razorbacks defensive lineman Jordan Domineck (14) during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

“There will be some portal action. Us and everybody else in the country. You just have to figure it out. It’s there for a reason. You just have to figure out who wants to stay with the program and who wants to transfer out. They have their own reasons. We’ll visit with them and try to keep the ones we need to keep. … 

A lot goes on in the transfer portal. It’s more than just playing time or not playing time. A lot goes on with it. Somebody gets a hold of them. A lot goes on.”

Jadon Haselwood was a good get

Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Jadon Haselwood (9) runs against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s tough. I wish we could have held up a little bit more tonight so we could get some more balls to him. Haselwood is a tough man, both mentally and physically. He’s much older than his age. He was a great addition. We’re going to try to get him to come back. WE’ll talk to him about his draft status, his draft grade, see if we can’t get him to come back. … (ACL injury). He was in green quite a little bit, but he held up a lot better in the last four or five weeks.”

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire