Georgia still close to Pittman's heart
HOOVER, Ala. – The affinity Sam Pittman still has for Georgia and head coach Kirby Smart was quite apparent during Day 4 of SEC Media Days Thursday.
Pittman, who left his job as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach to become the head coach of the Razorbacks, said he would not be the head coach at Arkansas right now if not for his time at Georgia.
The Bulldogs host the Razorbacks on October 2 at Sanford Stadium, and Pittman made it a point during his opening statement to mention how much returning to Athens means to him.
“I was going to ask Commissioner Sankey if Georgia's moved over to the SEC West because we played them two years in a row,” Pittman said. “With Georgia, we're excited to go back there. Jamie and I have such outstanding friends there, certainly on the coaching staff.”
Pittman did not stop there.
“The reason I mention Georgia, one, it's our crossover game, but the other is because of the indebtedness that I feel toward Kirby Smart. Kirby was very good to me. I wouldn't be the head coach at the University of Arkansas without him,” Pittman said. “We're looking forward to going back there and seeing our friends, and certainly trying to compete against one of the best football teams in America.”
Pittman said the lessons he learned at Georgia have been invaluable.
“A lot of it is about the program, the plans, the practice schedule. I'm not speaking for Coach Smart. I'm sure he took a lot of that from when he left Alabama with Nick Saban. I love the practice schedule like that,” Pittman said. “The relentless pursuit of athletes is what Kirby Smart does. It's fourth and a half-inch every day at the University of Georgia. Therefore, that's why he's done such a nice job of coaching and such a nice job of recruiting.”
Smart’s drive when it comes to recruiting is what stands out the most.
In the SEC, if you don't get the players, you’re not going to win. While Pittman is considered one of the best recruiters in the SEC on his own, watching Smart go about his business of ensuring the Bulldogs get their share continues to push the Razorback coach to up his game.
“I learned the importance of "we're in the SEC." It's different. It just means more. If it's going to mean more, you'd better get players, and he taught me that as well,” Pittman said. “I've always had a knack for recruiting, but it certainly—what's the word—wrenched up, working there at the University of Georgia.”