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Houston Nutt Press Conference Transcript

Houston Nutt Press Conference Transcript

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The following is a transcript of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt’s Sunday afternoon press conference with the media following the Ole Miss game.
Opening Comments:
“I’m really proud of the way our team played. We had great effort in every phase of the game, offense, defense and special teams.
“We really only played 13 players on defense. They forced a lot of three-and-outs against a very good offense. They played great during regulation. In overtime, they made the play to win the game. They made one more play than the other team.
“It took all 70 of us to get that win. It was a tremendous effort and it took a great attitude. They kept fighting. There were a lot of freshmen in the game that were making plays.
“This was tough schedule. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s been tough. We’re so beat up right now. Shannon Money, Mark Bokermann, Kenny Sandlin, Mark Pierce are banged up right now. We’ve got to be smart this week, but we’ve still go to get ready for a good Central Florida team.
“They almost had Clemson beat. They came close against Syracuse. We’re going to have a team meeting tonight and address this week. We’ve got to get back work.”
Talk about the team’s resiliency vs. Ole Miss:
“It was our togetherness. We had great spirit. We just felt like we were going to win. We answered every time Ole Miss scored. I just think it’s the family feeling we have on this team. You have to have that.”
Talk about the play calling:
“We tried to get some conventional runs with Cedric Cobbs. The offensive line felt like they were controlling the line of scrimmage and they were. I want to mention Bo Lacy. He played 85 snaps and was really thrown into the fire and did an outstanding job. He replaced Shannon Money who went down with a tight back. But, we wanted to mix it up with Matt Jones running and throwing. He’s so good at everything.”
Have you had time to think about the significance of the win?
“Not really. We got in so late last night. It really hasn’t sunk it yet. We’ll never forget this one, ever. And that scares us about this game this week because it was so emotional. We have come way too far to let up now.”
What goes into deciding whether you choose offense or defense in overtime?
“Most coaches want to put the other team’s offense out there first to see what they do. Maybe they score, maybe the get nothing. If you go into several overtimes, the defense gets tired. So there were some times when you want to put the offense out there first because you feel they can move the ball.”
Talk about your decision to play Matt Jones in the overtime:
“We felt like we had a good balance in the fourth quarter running the ball with Cedric Cobbs, then throwing with Matt and running him. Matt improvised in the passing game, running on busted plays.”
Talk about Cedric Cobbs’ performance:
“He had it going last night. Even though Fred Talley fumbled, we still believed in him and what he can do. But, I thought Cedric looked like the Cedric of old last night. He had a good night.”
What was the thinking on starting Jimarr Gallon over Corey Harris?
“Corey was ready to go. Jimarr had given us a lot of effort in practice. He got on a roll and was playing so well we couldn’t take him out. He got a little mismatched in the passing game and Corey could have helped us there. We just didn’t want to take Jimarr out because he was playing so well.”
Talk about the play of the fullback and tight end:
“They made some plays. The defense was so focused on Matt and Cedric, that we were able to use them. They are very athletic. Nathan Ball makes a big catch, then Pierce goes up the middle and catches a ball in the flat. They made some very big plays for us.”
Do you keep the rotation at quarterback?
“Right now we’re going to keep it the way it is. We really believe in Zak Clark. We are going to need them both. With the exception of the one turnover he had, Zak played a very good game. He did some good things and moved the chains for us. The drive he had at the end of the first half was big. It took the crowd out of it. It put us back in the game. He made some big passes to George Wilson.”
What has been the reaction of the recruits about the last four games?
“It’s been very positive. We’ve got some visits lined up for Mississippi State. It’s exciting and we’ve got a lot of interest right now.”
How has Matt Jones improved his passing?
“It’s been unbelievable. Since the first game it has been night and day. He had a great week of practice last week. The first thing (Ole Miss head coach) David Cutcliffe said was that is was so hard to practice for two quarterbacks. It’s tough to divide practice time. The spent some time on the option, some on the conventional offense and it’s tough to get prepared. We’re not going to change anything, we’ve come too far.”
Talk about the success on third downs:
“We were so ready for this game. We had a great week of practice and great concentration. We believed in ourselves and the game plan. We knew our offense would have to make some plays and score points because field goals are not going to beat (Ole Miss quarterback) Eli Manning.”
What was your pregame like?
“We took a cold shower before the game. It was a long drive in from Tupelo, just about everybody slept on the way down. We had a walk-thru when we got there and it was basically to get everybody going. We’ve never done that before. They kind of looked at me funny when I told them on Thursday, but I wanted them to get ready.”
Did you feel like you had to score a touchdown when you went for it on fourth and one in OT?
“No question. Three points was not going to be good enough against Ole Miss.”
Talk about the first downs in the fourth quarter that made Ole Miss run out the clock at the end:
“That was big. It changed the field position. We were expecting them to go for it. But being backed up on three yard line changed that and I don’t blame them.”
Talk about holding Ole Miss in the red zone:
“When we had to make plays, we did. That’s what is so amazing about the game. Every time we needed to step up we did. Ahmad Carroll made some big plays for us down there.”
— HOGS —

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