Nutt: Our Offense Needs Some Confidence

Following is a transcript of Sunday's press conference by Arkansas head football coach Houston Nutt regarding Saturday's 13-3 loss to No. 7 Tennessee. "If we could get up by 10 points, I felt that good about our defense and special teams. We just couldn't get it. We have to do a better job of blocking and sustaining blocks. You have to give them credit...

They're the No. 7-ranked team in the country. Tennessee, like Phil Fulmer told me after the game, knows they are very fortunate. Our team gave a tremendous effort, which I was proud of. It's a tough pill to swallow because naturally you want to win. The fans were great to go through the weather and the elements. That was a difficult thing to start, stop and start again. Our fans were right there. Despite all of that, the score didn't turn out right. We want to get a lot better. If we execute and make drives, it's over. That's what we're going to build on."
 
Where did the offense improve?
"Maybe not stat wise, but if you look at the chemistry, we were better. There was a little rhythm there. We felt like things were getting ready to happen for us. I felt like there was improvement there. To take that game (against UNLV) and then go against the No. 7 team in the country, I feel like, even though it doesn't show on the scoreboard, we're getting better. We have to continue to get better. The upside is I know we can play with anybody in the country. We're not far off."
 
Why did you have offensive trouble in the last three quarters?
"It's hard to say. They have big defensive ends and tackles, and the weather with the rain on and off. What did they do? They handed off the ball and got second and two or second and three. That's what we want to do. That's what we're trying to get done and I think we're going to get it done. The same group of guys that did it last year have to do it right now. I don't really have an answer."
 
What about the secondary?
"You talk about a big change from last year, that's a tremendous change. Ken Hamlin and Corey Harris are making a lot of tackles, Lawrence Richardson bats some balls away and Ahmad Carroll, there's two maybe three balls that look like six points that he knocks away. I'm really proud of those guys. They got worn down a little bit, but they did a great job."
 
Did you envision coming into the year the offense would struggle like this?
"No, not like this. We've always seemed to put around 24 points on the board when you have a couple of veterans out there. We're going to get there."
 
What can you do to keep the blitzes off?
"We have to make a play, receiver-wise. They are going to give us some one-on-one chances we have to take advantage of."
 
What has happened since the Mississippi State and LSU games last year when you could run?
"We're just not sustaining blocks and these teams are mixing up their fronts. We've also had a few busts on assignments. There's no excuse. Kenny Sandlin, La'Zerius White and Shannon Money are going to lead that charge and hopefully we're going to get back where we were. There are no secrets. Tennessee spread it out the whole game against Syracuse, but what did they do? They came right at us and that's what we want to do in a game like that. We had too many second and longs. Lost yardage plays just killed us. I can't really give you an answer. We just have to get better and we're going to start today."
 
Did Carlos Hall play as well as his stats indicate?
"He's playing so much harder now, but there are still some things he could do better. If he steps with the right foot and stays with his assignment, he gets another sack. He's playing as hard as he can go."
 
How big is this game this week against North Texas?
"Every game is big and this is probably the biggest because it's the next game. Our offense needs some confidence. The tough thing is we're playing a good team. They ran up and down the field against Oklahoma. They have some tremendous athletes that are capable of hurting you. We have to do a good job of preparing. This is a team that can play."

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