In the first of a run of overtime games against Texas A&M in 2014, Arkansas offensive tackle Dan Skipper got a tripping call far behind a big play that could have given the Razorbacks momentum.
He still remembers it … pretty vividly, too.
“That’s definitely a play I’d like to have back,” he told Tye Richardson and Tommy Craft (The Morning Rush) on ESPN Arkansas Wednesday morning.
It wasn’t intentional and the ball was about 30 yards upfield at the time. Skipper more or less just wasn’t graceful.
“I actually didn’t try to trip him at all,” Skipper said. “That was the guy I had cut originally and I got his hands on the ground. As a 6-10 uncoordinated sophomore I was just trying to get up. That’s the funny part about it, I was just trying to get up.”
He hasn’t let it go, either.
“That was the one tripping call in the entire FBS that year,” Skipper said. “I’m still a little bitter and, yes, I remember the ref. I hope I don’t see him in public because I’d probably trip him.”
While he didn’t address how soft the Hogs’ offensive line has become over the last few years he gave some insight about how it gets tougher under Sam Pittman, who was Skipper’s position coach for his first three years in Fayetteville.
“His guys go out and play with a swagger,” he said. “That’s where a lot of toughness comes from in my eyes. When you go out there and can play fast you can play tough and it just kinda happens.
“It’s not forced as something difficult to do. You know what you’re doing. You expect to win and you expect to exert your physical dominance on the guy across from you.”
Earlier this week, former center Travis Swanson talked about spending a lot of time before practices with Pittman in what became known as the pre-meeting meeting.
Skipper had those, too, along with teammates saying there were all of those big guys crammed into a 10×10-foot office at times.
“Offensive linemen are funny,” he said. “The more guys you can get together the more ideas flow. You just see the field through one set of eyes. You can learn so much ball from watching safeties and defensive backs and finding tips.
“In college meetings you don’t necessarily have as much time to go over that type of stuff. Those pre-meeting meetings were a lot of that kind of stuff.”
Skipper proceeded to have six NFL stints with five different teams (he was with the Lions twice) and found out how vast and good Pittman’s former players are.
“In all my stops in the NFL I’ve played with another Pittman guy,” he said. “I’ve never been the only one in the room and I’ve made six stops on five teams. Always having a Pittman guy kinda speaks for itself. We all get along, swapping stories and having a good time.”
And he did give an indication that it’s not all fun and games.
“When it’s time to work it’s time to work,” he said. “He expects your best effort every day and if it’s not there he lets you know about it.”