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Houston Nutt Press Conference – Work Cut Out for Razorbacks

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Houston Nutt Press Conference – Work Cut Out for Razorbacks

Fayetteville, Ark. – Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt held his weekly press conference on Sunday after the Razorbacks’44-10 win against Louisiana-Monroe. Below is a brief transcript of Coach Nutt’s comments.

Opening Comments…

“It’s always good to win. Our defense, after the first series, played very well. I think our secondary is getting a lot better. They are playing the ball better. I was really proud of Michael Grant, Matterral (Richardson), John Johnson, all the guys who intercepted balls. Almost every play, if you look real closely on the film, it was their teammates that helped cause those interceptions. They were either hurried or thrown off his back foot. Jamaal Anderson, Weston Dacus, Keith Jackson, at one time or another, all these guys rushed the quarterback just in time for an interception.”

“I like the way we responded; I didn’t like the way we started out. We were really excited about it. But the bottom line was the first series we weren’t ready to go. They had a good drive on us. After that, we responded very well.”

“Our offensive line did a very good job of coming off the ball and blocking who they are supposed to block. The backs ran hard and once we put it away I got (the starters) out very early. With this month left, I think after the first series of the third quarter they were out of there. I had a chance to play a lot of people and we could have scored a lot more points. I don’t that is important right now. What’s important now is that these guys are healthy. We have had a tough time staying healthy on the defensive side.”

“I am really proud of Weston Dacus stepping up. He played a very good ball game and made some tackles for us. Desmond Sims played a lot of snaps. Matt Hewitt has been the move of the year for us. Moving Matt to linebacker slot has really helped us.”

“We need to continue to get better and that starts today with watching film. You don’t have to tell our players very much. They know now that we are jumping right back into conference and we are playing four of the toughest teams in the conference. It starts this week in Columbia, S.C.”

On the month-to-month changes for the team…

“For the most part we have had great concentration and we have had our mind on our business. We have taken care of the task at hand, one game at a time. It comes from good seniors. We have good senior leadership. They come to work every day and they lead by example. I think that has been the key. This is a good feeling to go undefeated in October. You turn the corner and go into November; you know it is real football left for the next 30 days. It’s actually going to be four games in 22 days.”

On the success of the running game…

“We just try to win games. Let them say what they want to say but we have to do what is best for our team. Darren McFadden and Felix Jones give us a chance to score points. Peyton Hillis had his best game last night. He did some outstanding things. He had five knockdowns and key blocks on some touchdown runs. We are going to keep working on all phases of the game, including the passing game. We are going to get better at it. The thing that we do best is run the ball.”

On taking out Mitch Mustain and putting him back in…

“I think sometimes it’s good for a quarterback to stay on the sideline and really gather your thoughts. You watch, you pay attention to what is going on out there defensively; get a good look from the sidelines. I think it kind of jump starts you a little bit because I know how bad he wants to be out on the field. And it’s good that we have Casey Dick (to replace Mustain). We have two good quarterbacks.”

“I just felt like he needed to come out at that time and just watch. Let Casey (Dick) go in there for a series or two and get his feet wet. You’re still looking ahead. You are always a play away. With a four-game stretch like that, I think it’s important that you have two (quarterbacks) ready to go.”

On Sam Olajubutu’s absence…

“You want (Sam) Olajubutu. You want all your guys out there. I think Sam gives us something, almost a coach on the field, experience. Boy, we need him back. But that doesn’t mean that Weston Dacus, Matt Hewitt, Desmond Sims aren’t very much needed. They are getting better. You just want all your bullets out there at full speed.”

On the passing game against ULM…

“If you look really close, if Mitch (Mustain) and Damian (Williams) connect on (some of the passes), I think we bust it right open. When you hit a pass that deep, your confidence grows. When you do throw an interception and when you miss a pass like that, London’s (Crawford) ball was real close, it could have easily been caught and I’m not saying that’s an easy catch. If he does catch that and then all of a sudden you are on a roll, you have more confidence. I don’t think we are far off. We have to keep working at it, keep believing in it.”

“I liked the pass to Monk where only he could catch it. There were some throws, one to Damian and McFadden’s throw. We did some good things but we can be much better.”

On preparing for the mobile quarterback…

“I think (ULM’s Kinsmon Lancaster) helped us. Again, you want all your defense out there and ready to go. I think that’s a good indication. (Lancaster) is pretty quick and it’s hard to believe (ULM) has only won one game. (Lancaster) is very athletic. Syvelle Newton (of South Carolina) is very athletic, a good thrower. They have good wide outs to go along with that, including Sidney Rice. I think South Carolina’s backs are very good. We have our work cut out for us.”

On Jacob Skinner’s punting against ULM…

“For Jacob to put the ball inside the one, inside the two, it means points. Chris Houston got blocked eight yards deep in the end zone, sprints back to down the ball inside the one or two; that is just great special teams play. He couldn’t have done it without the hang time of Jacob Skinner. (Skinner and Houston) have a good relationship going right now. They work on it. Coach Shibest has done a great job with the punting group and they work on it. Jacob has a lot of confidence going right now.”

On Nutt’s 100th career win…

“Some days it feels like (the first win) was just yesterday, some days it feels like it has been a long time. I’m glad to get it and go on. I’m happy to get and I’m glad I’m doing it right here at the University of Arkansas.

On approaching November’s games…

“One of the things that I am going to talk to (the players) about is team. As you look around the country, I see a lot of teams that have a lot of “I” in them. When somebody makes a tackle, they almost have to honor themselves. I don’t want that. I want us to stay a team. I had a good, long talk with Darren McFadden last night. I made him promise me, I don’t want any more flexing in the end zone. I don’t want that. The reason that we got to this point is because we have been unselfish. Hand the ball to the official and go back to the sidelines; celebrate with your teammates. Our seniors have really taken on the ownership of “one game at a time”. That’s all you can handle. We have a chance to win a championship in toughest conference in America when no one gave you a chance. Let’s do everything we can to prepare for that. Let’s be the most unselfish teammates you can possibly be.”

“(Darren McFadden) was very apologetic. I told him during the game ‘look where we have to kick off now’. I know it is his hometown and it was my hometown too. But if this was a very tight game and we have to kick off from the 20 and they get a 20 or 30 yard return, all of a sudden, it can cost us the game. It’s not worth it.”

“It’s about team. It’s not about being me, me, me. That’s that hardest thing (to learn). I see a lot of people saying ‘I made this play, look at me’. You don’t have to (do that). They are going to know who makes the play. They are so accurate in the press box. Everybody knows what is going on. You are going to get plenty of publicity. Play the game the way it is supposed to be played and don’t worry about ‘I’.”

On Peyton Hillis’ play against ULM…

“(Peyton) Hillis is fully recovered. I thought Peyton played his best game and there are a lot of stats that don’t get recognized. He made a key block on Felix’s (Jones) run, another key block on a counter play for another long run. He caught a beautiful ball on flat and hurdles a guy and then he takes the punt return. He’ll go back to our No. 1 (punt returner). Not that Reggie Fish did anything wrong. Fish has been catching the ball extremely well. He’s a got a lot of confidence. We can put him back there if we need him. We feel like we have two guys who can do it. But we are going to go with the bigger guy this week.”



Sports Category : Football