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Houston Nutt Press Conference – Casey Dick To Start at Quarterback

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Houston Nutt Press Conference – Casey Dick To Start at Quarterback

Fayetteville, Ark. – Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt held his weekly press conference on Sunday after the Razorbacks’26-20 win against South Carolina. Below is a brief transcript of Coach Nutt’s comments.

Opening Comments…

“That was a great road victory for us. I’m really proud of our team; it was a total team effort with special teams playing a crucial role, Anthony Brown blocking the punt. Peyton Hillis was exceptional getting those 12 to 14 yards. Every yard was needed.”

“Defensively, I thought the first half, Reggie (Herring, UA’s defensive coordinator) had a great plan against (Syvelle) Newton (South Carolina’s starting quarterback). They kept him bottled up except for one run. They kept him off balance with pressure from Jamaal Anderson and Antwain Robinson. Then they switched quarterbacks on us.”

“(South Carolina) put on a show. When you watch the film, we were actually in pretty good position. We were covering pretty well. We have to play the ball better. We have to get our heads around, jump for it, all those things we talk about but for the most part you have to give (credit) to Sidney Rice, Blake Mitchell, Kenny McKinley, those guys were making plays and putting on a clinic.”

“I thought the key to the game was in the third and fourth quarters we kept the ball for 11 minutes, 12 minutes. We kept the ball a total of 37 minutes. We made some key first downs.”

“I’m just really proud of our team. Darius Vinnett couldn’t have come back at a better time. He makes a winning interception. It was just a key to our game. I hate that we lost Michael Grant. He was playing some really good football and it breaks your heart. He’s so upset that he can’t finish the year. That’s hurt us because he hasn’t given up a long ball, if a quarterback or a back scrambles out, he runs them down. On the kickoff team, he has been so valuable. He’s a 10.4 100 meters anyway you look at it. We are going to miss him. Kevin Woods is going to move up (to replace Grant).”

“The offensive line did an excellent job. The backs, (Darren) McFadden, (Felix) Jones, (Peyton) Hillis, Farrod Jackson, those guys played so hard and with a lot of passion. (Marcus) Monk made some big catches and some key third down catches. The jump ball at the end of the first half was good. He’ll tell you there should have been two or three more that he should have caught.”

On the quarterback situation…

“The thing that I want to say about that is that I am happy to have two good quarterbacks. I have said all along that we have to have two good quarterbacks. We couldn’t have won those first seven games without Mitch Mustain. When November hit and things started moving a bit faster I just felt it was time for Casey (Dick). It’s one word; it’s experience. That’s all it is. Both these guys will continue to get reps. We will go with Casey as a starter (against Tennessee) but we need both of them.”

“I am proud of Casey for hanging in there. He has had a tough road to take. But he has been very supportive (of Mitch Mustain) and now I expect the same from Mitch. It’s all about team. It’s about winning.”

“I could tell through out the week (Mustain) was a little bit different, the timing, speed, the defenses that he is seeing now. Teams are going to be getting better. It’s just experience. I’m talking about a lot more pass skels, sitting on the sideline and seeing college games. Those things add up.”

“(Mustain) is a competitor. He took it the way I expected him to take it. No one likes to be pulled. It hurts me to pull but I have been in the situation as a player but no one is going to be more supportive to Mitch Mustain then I am. I think he is a big time quarterback. I think he has helped us win some games. We are for sure not throwing him away. I think this will help him to really see things now. I think things will slow down for him a little bit. Take some pressure off, let him see things. He’s a play away. I have a quick trigger. I saw Robert Johnson and I felt for him. But Robert has accepted his role and he has done some good things for us. I expect Mitch to do the same.”

“(Casey bringing balance to the offense) was huge (against South Carolina). It was huge because they were crowding us and you have to be accurate. You have to be able to catch the blitz and be able to take a shot. Casey made great decisions with the ball and that’s what experience does under pressure in a hostile environment. He’s had an excellent last few weeks of practice. I knew with the way that he was practicing the last few weeks that he has been staying in tuned and focused and that hasn’t been easy. You have to give credit to Casey, what a great attitude he has shown. The way he practiced, the way he was focused, he was ready to go.”

On Stephen Parker’s injury…

“(Stephen Parker) has a sprained knee and, boy, do we need his presence. We need him back. He’s a tough guy. I just got through seeing him. He’s very swollen. He’ll hopefully be ready by Saturday. We’ll have to limit his reps this week and see how he is. We are planing on him being ready but (if he can’t go) it’ll be Jeremy Harrell.”

On Darren McFadden’s status…

“(McFadden’s injury) is basically to the top of the ankle towards the shin. He kind of got his foot caught when (the South Carolina player) pulled him back. His toe is really sore. That’s the first time he felt his toe be sore. He looked good when I saw him a few minutes ago. He got treatment at 4 a.m. this morning when we got in (at the suggestion of UA trainer Dean Weber).”

“When Peyton (Hillis) got hurt, you see Darren and Felix (Jones) checking on Peyton. I just love the team and the unselfishness that Darren and Felix have. That why we are winning.”

On Peyton Hillis’ status…

“(Peyton) is pretty banged up but he takes a break, comes back, takes a break and comes back again. He’s a tough guy too. He took a helmet shot to the knee or a little bit below it. (The thigh bruise) is part of it too but it was more the knee.”

On Michael Grant’s injury…

“(Grant) has a torn ACL (left knee) but we don’t know for sure what it is. Something is definitely torn. Tests will be done once the swelling goes down.”

“He went up for the ball and when he exploded that’s when he said he felt something pop. He came down in a very awkward position. It’s scary to watch. He thought he was (in position to make the play) but he really got distracted when he heard it pop and then he came down locked.”

“It’s bothersome (to have an injury in the secondary) but it’s part of football. This time of year everybody is getting beat up. You hate it because he has been our safety net. He has been the guy that hasn’t allowed a touchdown pass, no bombs, he chases everybody down if there is a long run. He has been getting better. He had three interceptions (against ULM) in Little Rock. You don’t want it to happen but now you have to go forward.”

On Sam Olajubutu’s status…

“You could tell he wasn’t 100% but what a presence he has and just made a bunch of tackles. There are a few more he would have made if he had been full speed. But I’m so thankful we got what we have.”

On Chris Houston’s play…

“Chris Houston actually graded out a winner. He was in great position. You have to give credit to Sidney Rice. To go out there and cover (Rice), a 6-4 gazelle that can vertical jump probably 39 inches and make circus catches, they put on a clinic. They are good but we were in good position. We have to play the ball better.”

On ESPN’s GameDay broadcasting from the Tennessee game…

“It’s going to be good. It’s our first experience ever for the school (to host the show). We are going to use it immensely for recruiting. That’s the biggest thing. The task at hand is the next game. One game at a time and let all of that take care of itself. It’s going to be fun. The world is going to be able to see our facilities, the passion of our Razorback fans, our stadium. Having (Lee) Corso and (Kirk) Herbstreit here, it’s going to be exciting. We have to make sure that we concentrate with what’s happening.”

On Tennessee’s offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe…

“It’s unbelievable. The receivers don’t look the same; the quarterbacks don’t look the same. Everybody is much more polished. Better route running, plays. They fit those tall receivers. We have the same coming from Tennessee (in receivers) as we did last night (against South Carolina) but more of them. These guys are 6-3, 6-4, strong, physical guys that can fly. Even though (UT quarterback Eric) Ainge couldn’t play here comes (backup QB Jonathan) Crompton. He looks like he is very accurate and has a little bit of fire to him. He throws the ball down the field in perfect flight right in the hands of (UT’s receivers). We have our work cut out for us again. We expect it.”

On Tennessee…

“I expect their best. Whenever we play Tennessee, it’s always a hard ball game. I expect their best effort. They are fighting for better bowls right now if they are out of the SEC East race.”



Sports Category : Football