Herring Mulling Over Offer

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach Houston Nutt's search for a new defensive coordinator hasn't lasted long.

A source close to the situation said Nutt has extended an offer to North Carolina State defensive coordinator Reggie Herring and is hoping he'll agree to replace Dave Wommack, who was fired Tuesday. The source said Herring still was pondering the three-year deal for an undisclosed amount late Friday night

Nutt didn't return messages Friday. Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles was in Atlanta and couldn't be reached for comment.

The 44-year-old Herring spent the 2004 season at North Carolina State under coach Chuck Amato, where his unit led the nation in total defense (221.4 yards a game), was second in pass defense (119 yards) and 25th in scoring defense (19.8 points). It was an enormous improvement for a group that surrendered 421 yards and 29.6 points before Herring's arrival in 2003.

Herring's name first became linked to the Arkansas opening when PackPride.com reported he had accepted the defensive coordinator position Friday. But the source said an offer had been made, but an agreement hadn't been reached as of late Friday night.

"I know they've been having discussions with him," North Carolina State athletic director Lee Fowler told the Raleigh News and Observer. "I met with Chuck this afternoon. He had not heard anything official.

"But apparently there was a great possibility of Reggie leaving."

Herring has eight years experience as a defensive coordinator, including a five-season stint at Clemson (1997-2001). He resigned in 2001 to take a position in the NFL as linebackers coach for the expansion Houston Texans (2002-03).

Herring's resume also includes stops at Texas Christian, where he worked as defensive coordinator (1992-93). He coached linebackers his first three seasons at Clemson (1994-96), at Auburn (1986-91) and Oklahoma State (1982-85).

Nutt and Herring started their careers as graduate assistants at Oklahoma State in 1981 and worked four seasons alongside each other. Nutt was a graduate assistant at Arkansas in 1983, but coached with Herring in 1981-82 and 1984-85.

"I don't know Reggie personally," Arkansas defensive backs coach Bobby Allen said Friday night. "I've heard about him in our profession. I've heard nothing but good things. I think (Herring and Nutt) know each other from Oklahoma State.

"But anything as far as him being hired, I know nothing."

Nutt said Thursday he had no timetable for hiring the new coach, but was looking for someone that had NFL and collegiate experience. His short list included seven to 10 candidates and he asked Broyles for more financial support to help lure top-notch candidates away from their current employers.

Prior to his coaching career, Herring was a three-year starting linebacker at Florida State (1977-1980) and was named second-team, All-American by The Associated Press in 1980. He earned his degree in criminology in 1981 and is regarded as an aggressive, intense and energetic coach that would bring new life to an Arkansas defense that surrendered 397.2 yards a game in 2004.

"Bottom line, if you want (North Carolina State) to be a bend-but-not-break defense, 80th in the nation, if you want a coach who puts on slippers and a sweater and smokes a pipe, giving offenses a cozy feeling, that's not going to happen," Herring told the Raleigh News and Observer earlier this year. "Bottom line, we're not going to back off."

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