Ousley Leaves Team

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach Houston Nutt promoted true freshman receiver Marcus Monk to the first-team offense Monday.

But the decision resulted in receiver Carlos Ousley's departure from the team.

Ousley asked for a release from his scholarship Tuesday morning and was dismissed by Nutt three days after a frustrating homecoming against then-No. 16 Florida. The Jacksonville, Fla., native started five games and was Arkansas' third-leading receiver, but rushed for minus-6 yards and didn't catch a pass in the 45-30 loss.

"I don't know why, probably because sometimes young people, especially when they transfer once and things don't go just right, it's tough," Nutt said of Ousley, who transferred to Arkansas in 2001 after spending one semester at Wake Forest. "There's a little bit of selfishness there, but I won't get into it.

"It's sad you know, because he had a lot of things that he was doing well. We really thought he was going to help our football team and he did help us early on. He still could've. But everything's a microwave oven. Got to have it quick, got to have it now. That's not the way you do things."

Ousley didn't return messages Tuesday night.

The 6-foot, 186-pounder caught 9 passes for 102 yards this season, including a six-catch, 47-yard performance in the season-opening, 63-13 win against New Mexico State. Ousley considered transferring last season after catching 5 passes for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns in his first two years, but inherited a larger role with the departures of seniors George Wilson and Richard Smith.

Ousley's stepfather, Terry Taylor, was scheduled to travel from Jacksonville to Fayetteville to talk with the staff about his stepson's demotion today. Taylor spoke with receivers coach James Shibest on Monday night and was told Ousley wasn't "productive enough" to stay in the starting lineup.

"He had said they were moving him from starting to the bench," said Taylor, whose stepson hadn't mentioned future plans as of Tuesday night. "He said the reason why was it was for the best interest of the team. He wasn't running his routes right. In his exact words. He wasn't productive enough. I said, 'Coach, from one game he's not productive enough?' I felt like they put the blame on him. They've got a freshman they want to start.

"Like I told (Shibest), that's not right. He's been there three years. You're not giving him a chance."

Taylor said his stepson left because he didn't want to go "back to the bench."

Shibest declined comment Tuesday afternoon about Ousley's departure.

But he said the Hogs must get their "most productive guys on the field."

That means the 6-foot-6, 205-pound Monk will become more involved in the offense after catching 12 passes for 201 yards and 4 touchdowns.. The Lepanto native was elevated to the first-team at split end on Monday, while senior Steven Harris shifted to flanker and bumped Ousley from the starting spot.

Ousley informed director of football operations Louis Campbell of his request to be released from his scholarship Tuesday morning. Nutt, who hasn't spoken to Ousley since his decision, said it's doubtful the receiver would be permitted to return even if he changed his mind.

But Ousley's decision caught his teammates by surprise.

"He took (the Florida loss) pretty hard," Harris said. "Then for things to go the way they did at the beginning of this week, probably made it hard on him and probably made up his mind for him. There's no telling."

Said receiver Cedric Washington: "I came out to practice (Tuesday) and he's not here and I'm at a loss just like everybody else. It's like a family member disappeared all of a sudden. Nobody knows what happened."

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