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Hogs' Pittman describes COVID experience

It started late Saturday night as back pain for Sam Pittman.

By Monday, it was a positive COVID-19 test and a subsequent confirmed positive test left Pittman to isolate at home and forced to miss his Arkansas team's upcoming trip Saturday to sixth-ranked Florida.

“Well, I'm feeling fine. I was sore in the back starting a little bit Saturday night, after the game,” said Pittman on the SEC coaches' teleconference. “I just felt like that was from standing up [on the sidelines during the Razorbacks' win against Tennessee]. I'm not the picture of health. I thought maybe my back was just hurting from the game.

“Sunday, I was a little worse and Monday morning was told I had tested positive. The great thing is nobody else in our building has over our last two (sets of) tests.”

Pittman divulged on the call that this would mark the first time in his decades-long coaching career that he would be forced to miss a contest.

“This is the first time I've ever missed a game,” Pittman said. “I've had some unfortunate situations in family, a death where I've missed a practice here or there, but over my years I bet I haven't missed more than two or three practices and it wasn't because of sickness.

“Once I send (coaches and players) off to practice in my meeting, I just wait. And I wait till they post the practice on my laptop. It's just different (for me). I don't want the kids to think any different of it. If they do, Florida will beat the heck out of us.”

Pittman said he has a smaller dwelling behind his main house where he has quarantined himself after he tested positive for the coronavirus. He also noted his wife, Jamie, had gotten tested and was negative for the virus.

Pittman reiterated that he did not want to emphasize his absence on at least three instances during the call, when he noted he wanted his players to keep their focus and routine as close to normal as possible before the game at Florida.

Pittman also expressed confidence in his gameday replacement, defensive coordinator and former Missouri Tigers head coach Barry Odom.

“I'm going to talk to the team on Friday night over Zoom and go let them play,” Pittman said. “I've got a great group of coaches. I don't want to make a mountain out of a mole hill. The pregame speech, Barry will do a helluva job with it.”

Pittman said he would remain in the guest house for “10 or 11” days until he has cleared the virus and completed the SEC's COVID-19 protocols.