FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The following is a partial transcript of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt’s Sunday press conference.
“I want to let the state of Arkansas know, that I know there are some unhappy fans and there’s an unhappy coach too. I want our fans to know that. There are coaches that are down and players that are really down. We hate it. It was a wonderful homecoming, with the pageantry, the fans and the attendance. Everything was perfect, except for one thing and that’s the scoreboard.
“I really appreciate some of the calls and letters I have gotten. I just want them to know we’re going to get things turned and corrected. One word was brought to my attention today about timid. There were not any timid Razorbacks on that field Saturday. You look real hard there was a lot of effort out there. We had an offense that had a freshman that took the ball 32 times and went almost 190 yards for the second-straight week. There was a freshman quarterback who gave up his redshirt to help his team. I could go on and on.
“I thought the defense played outstanding. The bottom line is we can go from about the 25 to the 25 or 20 to 20 and at the critical times we haven’t been able to convert that one play or make that one play. Give me Jamaal Anderson’s touchdown. Give me Darren McFadden’s touchdown and I really think this ballgame is over with the crowd and enthusiasm.
“One of the things I took into consideration all week long and everybody talks about the 4th and 1 and 4th and eight inches. All week long Reggie Herring came to me and said ‘They won’t score many,’ and he was right on it. He’s usually been very accurate with me and honest from day one. I felt like we’re 2 and 5, so you want to stay on the field.
“I thought Cedric Washington got the first down and he wasn’t far off. You’ve got to be able to make that. Hindsight is perfect, but you’re trying to do something to create momentum and jumpstart.
“I was proud of Casey Dick. I was proud of his effort and the decision-making for the first time. The way he threw the ball. I thought it was outstanding. The only thing I want to change is when it’s a critical time with short yardage, make that yard or two yards. Put those points on the board. That’s the only thing. We threw as many times as Steve Spurrier did. We rushed. Our total offense was much more, but stats don’t mean anything. The one thing is who has the most points at the end of 60 minutes and that’s what we didn’t get done Saturday.”
What will you do with the rest of the season?
“This is the first day of starting over, not that I’m throwing the seniors away. I have nothing to give them after these three games. We’re going to keep going. If you did notice how few seniors were out there for senior day. There wasn’t very many and even less that are playing. This is the first day of next year and every single snap is so important. That’s how were going to approach it. We’re going to work real hard on critical situations. The leadership and the seniors, the few that we have, have done an outstanding job.”
“We’re going to look at all possibilities and all angles and find some way to win these next three games. Starting with Ole Miss. We’ll try to give more playing time to some young guys like Marcus Shavers and Elston Forte and naturally Casey Dick still going. Of course (Darren) McFadden and Felix (Jones). Looking at every possible area that young people are involved and getting them more involved, but doing everything we can do to win.
How will you motivate the team to finish strong?
“That’s what I love about this team. Again, this is my first situation where things have not gone your way. You keep hoping you’re going to wake up from a bad dream. The bottom line is this is the way it is and these guys have always responded and played hard. They want to win so badly. They have not gotten one little break or bounce. We’re hoping this is going to be the weekend. I don’t ever get the sense that they’re getting ready to pack it in. I don’t feel that.”
On Ole Miss:
“This is going to be one of the toughest defenses we’ll face. They have done a great job against everyone. They’ve been struggling on offense. This will be a physical, physical game. It always is, but this one will definitely be.”