FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The following is a partial transcript of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt’s Sunday press conference.
“It was disappointing because our defense played extremely hard.It was a greatturn around from last week to this week andthe effort was phenomenal. They played with great heart. You take out two plays, the passing play and the third-and-five, and shoot they played just about perfect. They ran and chased the ball. I appreciate the perseverance, and their attitude to come back after getting beat up last week. They played well enough to win. The sad thing is that it takes everything, your special teams and offense.”
“Offensively, we had our chances, but we had some major breakdowns. One thing that Joe Kines (Alabama’s defensive coordinator) did that was very surprising is that he got away from his base (defense). Joe Kines has always been a 4-3 and just as basic as you can get. But he really went to a different package. We heard that he had gone to visit Joe Lee Dunn this year, and we knew he would run it a little bit. But to be in that package 80 percent of the time threw us off a little bit. You can see why the more you look at it because his best players are from the linebackers to the defensive backs. He has tremendous athletes at linebacker, safety, and corner. I guess that is the reason for him to do that because they have excellent athletes, and he can do that.”
“Our offensive line blocked really well and time, and boy at times we missed some. Then Robert (Johnson) missed some throws the normally doesn’t miss. He is going to learn from that and he is going to get better. We are better than that offensively, and we have to get that corrected. I think the first three games we had two maybe three penalties offensively, and yesterday we had seven. That is the most upsetting thing offensively, the way we stopped ourselves. We can’t stop ourselves. We could have scored a couple of more times.”
“On special teams I thought Jacob Skinner did an excellent job for us, pinning the ball deep. Our punt return continues to get better and Kyle Dickerson did a great job on the punt block. The one time we call it, he went and got it. I wish we would have scooped and scored there. It was John Aaron Rees first time to play a collegiate ball game, and he was happy to get on that ball and did a good job with it.”
On the decline of the offensive production:
“Number one we are playing good football teams, and we have to get better. We are stopping ourselves. It is not about cutting back the offense or the playbook. It all depends on what we do out there between the white lines. It is about not having illegal procedures. It is about hitting the open man and everybody executing. It takes all 11 men on the field to do it. I think it will be easy to fix. We started out on a good foot, but we are to get into better defenses each week. We are hitting the teeth of our schedule, but we just have to pick it up and keep getting better.
On the upcoming bye week:
“We need it. You miss Jonathan Luigs and we know (Jared) Hicks, (Zac) Tubbs and (Darius) Vinnett are going to be out. Maybe this gives them a chance. Marcus Harrison is probably the worst injury we have right now with the ankle. It gives us a chance to reenergize and cleanse our souls top to bottom. It has been a tough last three weeks, but I will say this, from coming off of the plane (after Southern California) at 7 a.m. to this point, I still feel much, much better. There have been a lot of kids let go of the rope. You talk about production being low; I have seen it go the other way, especially when you get beat the way we got beat. You come back against a top 20 team and lay your guts on the line there is something to be said about that. I think they showed a lot of heart, I really do.”
On the off week schedule:
“We are going to go out and have a good workout today, and correct the missed assignments. Then we will go practice on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Then the coaches will go out and recruit on Friday. We will then come back on Sunday for a more extended practice. Sunday will be more like three-quarters of a Tuesday practice. It won’t be like a light Sunday, it will be more of a full-padded practice to get ahead and get going again. But we need to get well this week.”
On Sam Olajubutu, the defense and what the offense needs to do.
“A guy like Sam Olajubutu, all he does is go out and make 15, 16 tackles a game with two or three on special teams and play so hard. I’m proud of the defense; I think they made a turn. Offensively, we started out good for a young group, but now we are getting the best defenses. In the SEC, week-in and week-out you have to buckle you chinstrap and get ready to go. We can’t get behind with illegal procedures. Let’s don’t hit someone in the back down the field when we don’t need you. It is foolish penalties and to me that is coaching and we have to get that right.”