Nutt: We've Got to Get Better Offensively

Arkansas opened the season with Thursday's 14-10 victory over Nevada-Las Vegas in War Memorial Stadium at Little Rock. Head coach Houston Nutt met with the media on Friday.

"I'm really happy that we won, naturally. We've got to get better offensively, as everybody knows. That's everybody - offensive line, running backs, receivers and quarterbacks.
It takes 11 guys. You just don't know if we get a few creases and if maybe a couple of balls are caught, Zak Clark might still be in the ballgame. It's not all Zak Clark. I have tremendous respect for Zak and I know what he's going through as an Arkansas quarterback.
I think it's one of the most difficult things there is - to be from Arkansas and be the quarterback at the university. He did some good things. It's so frustrating not to have a first down. Three and out, three and out. It's not just one guy's fault now, it's easy to say it's the quarterback. It is the total, total package.
Here's what's great to me is the total reconstruction of heart, character and effort. To see Eddie Jackson run 40 yards across the field to cut off the quarterback, to see Lawrence Richardson run about 60 yards to tackle a back and save a touchdown, to see David Carlton knock the ball out of the end zone.
You felt like Marvin Jackson was always a play away, one step away, one block away from taking it. We have a long way to go and I'm glad we have this extra time. What's good is to be able to go on the practice field and say just look, if you take one more step and get this block …, look back if you just take the time to tuck the ball away.
Do what you're coached to do. The good thing is you never gave up, you kept fighting with an unbelievable Razorback spirit. We have to get better. There's no rest for the weary, we're playing a great team in just a few days."
Why did you insert Ryan Sorahan at quarterback during a series?
"I think it was after a third straight incompletion and I just needed a change, whether it was a change of pace, a change of scenery, I just needed a change to try and get something going. It's not all Zak Clark. I love that kid and that kid's heart. He's worked hard. It's just amazing. If there's not a dropped ball here or a dropped fumble here, things could have been much different. For whatever reason, it didn't happen that way. It just felt like at the end with a little more than a minute left, Sorahan was the guy we were going to go with. He has a little more scrambling ability. We knew they were going to mix up the blitzes. I think UNLV has a very, very good defense. I see three draft choices on that team, two for sure, No. 47 (DE Anton Palepoi) and No. 42 (SS Sam Brandon)."
Why did you play Tarvaris Jackson instead of Matt Jones?
"What we needed at the time was some accuracy. They said we're going to take the middle of the field, populate the line of scrimmage with nine men, play the corners inside leverage nine yards deep and let you throw from the hash marks out. We needed a guy that can throw an out, a comeback or a corner, and he was the guy. If it had been a different time, it could have been Matt Jones, and I was still thinking about Matt Jones all throughout the game. I've never been in a situation like that. I know David Lee hasn't. It was your worst nightmare. Nothing was happening right. Your defense is playing its guts out and getting turnovers and we're not getting any production out of it. We were trying everything. I thought we did some good things with Tarvaris but then Fred put the ball on the ground. Why do so many offenses look so bad early? I think people are scared to scrimmage because of the numbers on scholarship, you're afraid to get anybody hurt. This was basically our second scrimmage and it looked like it. We have to get better. It starts with the offensive line. We depend on (Kenny) Sandlin, (La'Zerius) White and (Shannon) Money to lead us, and (Josh) Melton and (Mark) Bokermann. We need those guys to step up and do a good job blocking."
What's the problem with the line, are they not getting a push on power blocking or is it when zone blocking they can't move guys?
"Early on we were being aggressive, but the problem is they were too. You get these numbers on you and with safeties coming down they have extra numbers and there's not much room there. We missed two posts last night that I know would have made a difference and they would have backed up. Until we complete one, they're not going to do that. We missed two to Richard Smith that we had. I think the initial steps are good, we have to stay with it maybe a half a second longer and continue to be more physical. We had a physical camp and our guys mentally came out in the right frame of mind. We've got to do a better job and open up some running lanes."
Did you think Jackson could throw the passes that the defense was giving you?
"There's no doubt. There was a miscommunication between Josh and Tarvaris on the fumbled snap. He was nervous, they all were. I was thinking about playing five quarterbacks. I got really close (to playing Jones), especially early in the first half. I've never done anything like that. I was just desperate. My thought process probably wasn't very good. I was flustered because I had never been in a situation where I had that many three downs and out. I was looking for any solution to keep the clock moving and make a first down. Zak wasn't really on, so we wanted to see what Sorahan would do. Gerald goes in and he misreads the first option play for negative yardage. They crowded us and keyed on Cobbs, Holmes and Talley. We had to throw outs and corners, so that's why we went with Tarvaris."
What made you decide to go with Ryan late in the game?
"Nothing was happening. Nobody made any plays and again, it's not all Zak's fault. We were trying to do anything we could to change the game to help our team and put them in a situation to win. That's the only reason we went with Ryan."
What is the future of the option?
"It's still going to be there. What we have to do is evaluate where we are with Sorahan, Jackson, Jones and Clark. You can't get four ready to play. You would like to run it a little bit, but I don't know how much. I would like to have seen what would have happened if he (Howard) had handed off. On the first one, Fred wasn't where he was supposed to be. If he catches that ball, he's still running."
Does playing Jackson mean Matt Jones will redshirt?
"I'm not worried about redshirting at all. I'm worried about right now and trying to win. We'll redshirt if it's convenient. We're trying to get the best players on the field. I thought about putting Jones out there for the last play of the game. He's 6-6 and can knock the ball down."
Do you see Matt playing any at receiver?
"He's going to still work at quarterback, but maybe get out there and having a role. We put Marvin Jackson at receiver and thought about putting Lawrence Richardson out there, but he had cramps from running kickoffs, kickoff return and covering. He never came off the field."
Is linebacker better than you thought it would be?
"Jermaine Petty played extremely hard. Petty and (Caleb) Miller really stepped up."
Are you glad the UNLV game is out of the way?
"That was a hard, hard opener. The reason it was hard is because it was eight months of humiliation and embarrassment. We didn't play great, but we played well enough to win. The bottom line is Arkansas is 1-0. With 22 seconds left, we told Ryan to run that play and then kill the clock right afterwards, but we probably would have kicked it after that because I've seen so many games where people run out of time."
What do you know about Tennessee?
"I just know they are good. They have great athletes. They probably aren't as deep at tai

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