Third-year Arkansas Razorback football coach Sam Pittman and his staff have four more practices before putting the wraps on spring drills next Saturday, just in time to prep Reynolds Razorback Stadium for the sold-out Garth Brooks concert that evening.
That show should be thrilling for tons of Brooks and country-music fans in the region, but for Hog football fans salivating for a taste of gridiron goodness after last year’s 9-4 season — the best by the Hogs in a decade — the real show is this Saturday.
The Razorbacks will hold an open situational scrimmage/practice at 11 a.m. in Razorback Stadium that will also be streamed on SEC Network Plus/ESPN Plus.
Arkansas Razorback Football
Opponent: Situational Scrimmage
When: 11 a.m. Saturday, April 16
Where: Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville
It’s likely the only chance for fans to get to experience the Razorbacks live before the kickoff of what could be a Top-25 matchup with the Cincinnati Bearcats in Arkansas’ season opener on Sept. 3.
Arkansas might have an open practice for fans in August, but it might not.
Either way, it’s a relatively long time until August, and seeing a Razorback team that’s expected to vie for top-10 consideration and conversation is a sight to behold for Hog fans who have suffered with a mediocre or worse Razorback football product most seasons since the unceremonious firing of Bobby Petrino in the spring of 2012.
Ironically Petrino returns to Razorback Stadium on Sept. 17 with his Missouri State squad, hopefully for his team to get a butt whipping to match the one many believe he absorbed on that motorcycle ride out on Highway 23 a decade ago.
Yeah, the sour grapes are still there, but with the football program back in good shape under Pittman, it’s easier to joke about.
The work the Razorbacks have put in this spring isn’t a joke. It’s necessary for the Hogs to even have a chance at repeating the type of success they achieved last fall.
Nonconference games with the likes of aforementioned Cincinnati, BYU at Provo, Utah, and also against Liberty continue the uncomfortable tradition of the Razorbacks having the toughest schedule in college football once again this year.
This might be the toughest schedule the Hogs have ever faced top to bottom. Yes, Georgia thankfully rolled off the schedule, but if there was any SEC program more on the upswing in the SEC than Arkansas, it might have been South Carolina at the end of the season. The Gamecocks visit Fayetteville on Sept. 10.
The Hogs’ aces in the hole are the return of KJ Jefferson at quarterback with a veteran offensive line and linebacker Bumper Pool and safety Jalen Catalon on defense. That’s some strong leadership there.
They along with the rest of Pittman’s ever-improving Razorback squad should give fans something to look forward to all summer. And Saturday morning, Hog fans get a sneak peak at what’s in store for this fall.