Special teams can be an afterthought on some programs. Quarterbacks, pass rushers, wide receivers dominate the box scores, and if a kicker or long snapper makes the highlights there's a coin flip's chance that something went terribly, terribly wrong.
But Head Hog Sam Pittman knows there are three phases to the game better than anyone—two games were decided by a field goal or less last year and they both turned out to be losses. Flip both of those games and this team was .500 last year and things are looking even more encouraging.
Today was a day to hear from the players who put the "special" in special teams but...
Before we get into any of that, here's a slow-motion video of KJ Jefferson practicing in the rain yesterday because it's beautiful and you deserve it.
Here are all the videos, observations, and highlights from Day 9 of practice:
▶️ Servant Leader: When Razorbacks' long snapper Jordan Silver was asked about his goals for this year, he turned it around and talked about team goals like improving field goal efficiency and kick coverages. In a season where nearly half the Hogs' losses were decided by a single score, every yard you can get on punts and kickoffs is important: "My job as the snapper is to service the rest of the special teams ... that's the job I chose and that's the job I want because I love doing it."
▶️ Proof Positive: A little inside information for you... Silver also earned the nickname "Mr. Positive" after spending much of his first four years at Arkansas becoming one of the team’s top community service leaders: “Back in Branson, where I’m from, I wasn’t able to engage in the community as much as I am now. Now, it’s an amazing platform here having the Razorbacks, because we can reach out to everybody in the state and help anybody with community service.”
▶️ Maximum Effort: Scott Fountain wears a lot of hats in his role as special teams coach, but one thing he's determined to do is find a game-changing punt returner. Fountain has no shortage of options as a handful of players are filling in as punt returner during practices, with defensive back Greg Brooks leading the charge: “I come from a background as a special teams guy that I always try to find a really good player to do that ... I feel like punt return is always effort up front. I feel like we're getting that from our guys, we just have to have the right guy on the back end.”
Arkansas continues fall camp today in the lead up to their season opener against Rice on Saturday, September 4th at 1:00pm.