Pittman’s handling of crisis may give some clues if you look for them

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Barry Odom didn’t wait for a question on Friday’s teleconference and opened it with a monologue that gives some clues to what we’ve said about Sam Pittman taking control of football at Arkansas.

“We’ve gotten a lot better as an organization in the last month,” Odom said. “It’s because of his leadership and the things he’s put in place for us to carry out and do.”

It’s becoming clear Pittman and Odom are forming a pretty tight bond. They even take daily walks together as a head coach with a lot of time spent on various coaching staffs listens to a guy who coached a few years in the SEC.

The initial observation from a distance (and that’s all we have to go on at this point) is Pittman understands he was given a pair of eyes plus two ears with just one mouth and acts in accordance with the proportion.

That’s what most successful leaders do.

“Coach Pittman has been unbelievable as a leader, providing us with the details on a day-to-day basis of what we want to get done and have a plan to go out and execute it,” offensive coordinator Kendal Briles said later in the teleconference.

At least it appears he has a plan that his staff understands. For about the last seven years everybody appeared to be making things up, almost on a weekly basis the last couple of seasons.

“We kind of had an anticipation that it may go to all students being away,” Pittman said on The Paul Finebaum Show on the SEC Network on Friday. “We did a lot of teach tapes and a lot of things of that nature, getting ready video-wise to be gone. It’s been fairly smooth, I think, over the last three weeks. We’ve got a lot completed and a lot done.”

Can you imagine how this shutdown would have affected the previous two staffs? Too much over the last seven seasons looked like it was being made up as they went along.

That’s how you end up with a 33-54 record over that time span and 4-20 the last two seasons.

Pittman at least has his coordinators talking about how has handled something nobody could predict. He may have had an idea some kind of disruption was coming.

“Really didn’t give him a handbook on how to handle this, but he has provided the structure, organization and the things that he’s put in place for us to be able to do,” Odom said Friday.

One of Pittman’s strengths is his one-on-one ability with players. We’ve heard that from a lot of people for several years.

“The biggest thing as a coach is you like to look people in the eye,” he told Finebaum. “We’ve tried to get as much interaction as we possibly can so we can find out if our kids are understanding what we’re trying to teach to them … and, for that matter, if our coaches are understanding the points I’m trying to get across.”

Apparently they get it. The respect for Pittman comes across as real.

“He’s got a staff that respects him,” Briles said.

We haven’t heard that a lot in awhile. It doesn’t automatically equate to wins, which is what everything ultimately is the final measuring stick.

But it does indicate the ship is pointed in the right direction.

Maybe more solidly than we’ve seen in awhile.

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