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Houston Nutt Press Conference – Fairchild Done for the 2006 Season

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Houston Nutt Press Conference – Fairchild Done for the 2006 Season

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt addressed the media in his weekly press conference on Sunday. Below is a brief transcript of the press conference.

(Opening Comments)

“There is nothing like a win. There is nothing like seeing a celebrated locker room, nothing like singing. I really think we can spring board off this game to get better in every area.”

“I thought the offensive line can still do much better but it was a start. They were a little bit more physical. We had some creases for Darren (McFadden). Felix Jones ran hard. Peyton Hillis, Mitch Petrus, Farod Jackson, the entire backfield play very hard. I thought the receivers, Marcus Monk, Damian Williams, Cedric Washington, went to get the football. They went to go get the football when the ball was in the air. They had the attitude ‘that’s going to be my ball tonight’ and that’s the way we want them playing.”

“Defensively, we had a big blow hit us. Freddie Fairchild tore an ACL. That really hurts us. Sam Olajubutu, Desmond Sims and Weston Dacus will be our starters and our freshmen have got to keep coming. Adrian Davis got about 30 plays last night; that was good. Wendel Davis probably got 15 or so, he’ll get more now. We just can’t lose any more (on defense). (Losing Fairchild) really hurt us.”

“There is nothing like a shutout. I want to give the defense a lot of credit. They had to make some plays and they made them. I really feel like they were still a little drained from the first game. They just didn’t have that same bounce in their step (that they had against USC). Again, we can take this film and learn from it. We can’t wait to get out on the practice field. We can get better in everything we are doing and I’m excited about it.”

(On the new starters at linebacker)

“Reggie (Herring) is still trying to piece that together. He is trying to see what is going to be the best fit with the next guys (Adrian Davis and Wendel Davis). We’ll know more probably tomorrow, exactly who we are going to go with.”

(On Freddie Fairchild’s inury)

“I think it was the right knee. He went back in (after the play where he tore his ACL). He’s tough. He wasn’t moving very confidently (when he went back in). After the game, when they were working on his knee, that’s when they felt some looseness in his knee. That’s when I first thought he at least tore some cartilage. He can get a medical hardship and we can get that year back. But I hate thinking about going back on the field without him. From 200 pounds last year to 221 pounds this year and playing at a different level, we are going to miss him.”

“It was kind of a freak accident. He got his knee caught up wrong towards the end of a play. He assisted with a tackle and kind of turned and somebody landed on it wrong or a helmet hit it. It didn’t seem like that bad of a hit. I saw it live and I saw it on film again today and it didn’t look that bad. He told me it had popped and that’s what concerned me. He heard it pop.”

“He was really playing some good ball. He’s a good ball player and he was only going to get better.”

“Linebacker is the position where we hate to have this injury. Late in the game, you just hold your breath when (Sam) Olajubutu is out there. You just don’t want any of those guys to get hurt.”

(On the defense and getting the shutout)

“I wasn’t surprised with the shutout. Our offense helped (the defense). We played great field position. Jacob Skinner punted the ball extremely well, making them go from 90 yards, 85 yards, 82 yards. (Utah State) had to take off from where we had to take off against USC last week. There is nothing like winning the field position. We won it on the punting game and on the punt return game. That was huge.”

(On implementing the new offense and offensive players)

“The number one thing is, it’s about winning and what our players do the best. The best thing Mitch (Mustain) did is he didn’t turn the ball over. There may be a few things that he can do better. I have all the confidence in the world that he will. The things that we do best right now are that we have a guy like Darren McFadden. He’s a tremendous back, along with Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis. What you feel good about is, when we did go no-huddle, we executed. We are striving for that balance. I think it is going pretty well and you’ll see us get better each week.”

(On Mitch Mustain’s adjustment to college football)

“This is a big step. It’s not easy. He is seeing things he hasn’t seen before. The game is faster then what he is used to. He’s adjusting well and that’s what the good ones do, they keep adjusting and keep getting better.”

(On the kicking positions)

“We have to get back out there today and see who’s going to start out with an extra point. You have got to make extra points. I have really never felt this confident about the kicking game and that is what is disappointing. I felt really good about it. Stephen Arnold has to get his confidence back. Jeremy Davis will be looked at a little harder now.”

“Brian Vavra should be our kick-off guy. He just has to be consistent and hitting the ball right. He has been practicing pretty well but you have to do it on game day.”

(On Vanderbilt)

“They are a team that plays with a lot of confidence. One thing that Coach (Bobby) Johnson has done is he has taught this group not to give up. They won some close games last year. They went to Michigan this year and played them toe-to-toe for a half or three-quarters. They went to Alabama and had a chance to win the game even in the fourth quarter. They are a good football team and they do a lot of good things but I am more concerned about us. We have to have a great week of practice with great intensity and great focus, especially when you are going on the road.”

(On forcing turnovers and eliminating fumbles)

“I think (forcing turnovers) will come, I really do. We are going to get our share. I think we will start getting turnovers and it couldn’t come at a better time then this week. I know how we stress it (in practice), like holding on to the football. We put emphasis on (forcing turnovers) everyday. We have drills with it.”

“We went from three or four fumbles (against USC) to one fumble. I want zero. On the other side (with forcing turnovers), I feel the same way. We are close; we just have to knock that ball loose, intercept some balls.”

(On Darren McFadden’s fumble)

“It really looked like the ball just popped out. He thought he was down. You have to lock the ball up. I don’t even think it was that hard of a hit. He took much harder hits through out the game. You have to take every precaution (to protect the ball) and use the three points of pressure, lock that ball up and hand it to the official, each time.”

(On Mark Bonner’s injury)

“Mark Bonner dislocated his shoulder. We are going to miss him too. He was playing good football. I don’t know for sure (if he is out for the year). He was definitely going to get his shot to play this week. And, with special teams, Mark has just been outstanding. We are going to miss Mark Bonner.”

(On Felix Jones’ run to the one-yard line)

“He looked pretty close to being down. It was a good effort. Everyone assumed he was down. He was still hurting, to this day, about the fumbles (against USC). He really wanted to show his teammates and coaches that he can hold on to the ball.”

(On the changes made after the USC game and how they were implemented against Utah State)

“The first thing that felt good was Darren McFadden had a full week of practice. It was his first full week of practice where we got him reps, meaningful reps at full speed, doing hand-offs and fundamentals. The same thing with Felix (Jones). We were getting his confidence back. He was getting a few carries, hit a few runs and we went over ball security and he accomplished that.”

(On the play of Peyton Hillis)

“Peyton is so valuable. I wish he knew how valuable he is. On punt returns, he did a great job. He did a great job of catching the ball in the backfield. He was going to have a touchdown pass with the wheel and he can still run the ball on different plays that we have. We just have to keep him going.”



Sports Category : Football