Sam Pittman won three games his first season at Arkansas (probably could have won three other games for a variety of reasons) and that was done with a coaching staff that apparently some folks want to raid.
First, wide receivers coach Justin Stepp is apparently going to South Carolina. That probably involves a chance to return home more than anything else … those things happen.
Now there are reports Razorbacks defensive coordinator Barry Odom is a target for Steve Sarkisian at Texas.
In a whirlwind of activity over the weekend, the Longhorns fired Tom Herman and hired Sarkisian, Alabama’s offensive coordinator, in just a few hours. That means they probably had the second deal done before they pulled the trigger on paying off nearly $30 million of buyouts to unload a coaching staff.
As an aside, if you think that is a big number at the University of Texas, you really don’t know much about how things work at Austin. They have boosters that can write the check by themselves and never blink.
Odom is one name mentioned for the job after Will Muschamp said he wasn’t interested. He was previously the defensive coordinator under Mack Brown, so he might not be interested in doing that again after being a head coach at two schools in the SEC.
Why would Odom be interested in listening (as multiple reports indicate he would) is simply because, well, it’s Texas. Hog fans hate to hear that, but it is a blue-blood program in the world of college football square in the middle of one of the largest hot beds of top-level talent in the country every year. Most years it would be THE biggest.
Citing sources close to Odom, Horns247.com said it will not be easy for the Longhorns to land him. They reported his family enjoys living in Northwest Arkansas and his sons are playing football here.
Colorado State wide receivers coach Kenny Guiton is being reported as the replacement for Stepp and there are also reports offensive coordinator Kendal Briles may be drawing interest, but that has not been confirmed.
Odom reportedly was drawing interest from Ed Orgeron at LSU for the defensive coordinator position there after they paid Bo Pellini about $5 million to leave after one season, but the Texas talk has dimmed that dramatically.
At Arkansas, Odom is making $1.3 million a year after getting a $100,000 pay raise after turning down a defensive coordinator role at another SEC school before he ever coached a game here.
In a year that’s seen revenues drop dramatically, how much deeper the Hogs can dig to get Odom a raise is anybody’s guess.
But the interest is there, which means those outside of Arkansas have taken notice of what he accomplished in just one season.
Now it’s up to Pittman’s recruiting skills to keep not just players on the roster, but his top-level assistant coaches as well.
He hasn’t really had key players enter the transfer portal that’s seeing some fairly big names at big-time programs come in. Oklahoma wide receiver Charleston Rambo, who has started 24 games over the last two seasons, put his name in to leave Monday.