Broyles: Forget It and Move Forward

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles hasn't had much time to meet with Houston Nutt since the coach's brief flirtation with LSU last week.

But Broyles said Monday he has had a chance to deliver a simple message to Nutt, who is entering his eighth year with the Razorbacks.

"Forget it and move forward," Broyles said. "People make decisions, do certain things, and when it's over with you forget and go full speed ahead. We're just going to work harder. I told him we're going to work harder than we've ever worked.

"I am. He will, I'm sure, and so are his coaches."

Broyles' message came a week after Nutt was contacted by LSU in search of a replacement for the departed Nick Saban, who was named coach of the Miami Dolphins on Christmas Day. Nutt told the Tigers he couldn't take part in an interview process with other candidates, but indicated that if LSU considered him its top choice he was interested in discussing the possibility of succeeding Saban.

Nutt withdrew his name from consideration last Thursday.

LSU announced Oklahoma State's Les Miles as its new coach Monday (see related story Page 8C).

Broyles believed Nutt's decision to speak with LSU athletic director Skip Bertman, coupled with his discussions with Nebraska last winter, upset as much as "25 to 30 percent" of Arkansas' fan base. Broyles, who was on vacation last week, said he spoke with several supporters that were "mad" about the situation and were upset with Nutt, not the program.

But Broyles believes most of those opinions changed during the holiday weekend.

"Pretty unanimously, all those that felt uncomfortable with him concerning the two jobs in 11 months, came back aboard," Broyles said. "They're glad he stayed.

"I haven't talked to anybody that isn't glad he stayed. Anybody that got upset with him are glad he stayed and I am too."

Nutt declined to comment about the LSU situation Monday.

In November, Broyles described Nutt as the "best person in America" for Arkansas' football program after the Hogs finished 5-6 and missed postseason play.

Broyles said his opinion hasn't changed and bristled at the notion his relationship with Nutt has been strained the past week. He said there's pressure on Nutt to win next season, but it isn't added pressure resulting from his discussions with LSU.

"Absolutely not," Broyles said. "It hasn't changed. Not one bit. It hasn't changed one bit except, we've just got to work harder. We've got to satisfy the people more than we have in the past with our football program.

"So we're all going to work harder than we've ever worked."

Broyles, who said he never was interested in another job during his 19 years as Arkansas' coach, will continue to grant other interested schools permission to speak to his coaches. He also said it'll continue to be "(Nutt's) call" on any discussions with other programs.

But Broyles, who wants his coaches that agree to talk with other programs to "decide whether they're interested in the job or not and make a decision (to pursue it) right away," said he'd like to implement a new policy in his coaches' contracts.

"I'm hoping that we can put something in contracts in the future where if a coach or athletic director, anybody in the athletic department, is interested in another job and are going to pursue it, his contract automatically ends at that school," Broyles said. "That doesn't mean that you're going to exercise it, but he's automatically not working at that school. That's what happens in the business world."

Broyles said that can't be established in Nutt's contract because the specifics of the long-term deal have already been agreed upon.

Broyles also explained his comments to The Morning News last week that he believed Nutt "was going to take the job and really felt like he should take it." Broyles said he simply didn't want Nutt second-guessing himself by turning down any potential offer from the Tigers if he really wanted the job.

"The reason I said that is simply, if you're second-guessing yourself, you're not happy," Broyles said. "You'll wish you had made that decision.

"I don't want him to feel badly when something goes wrong here and say to himself I should've left to Nebraska, I should've left to LSU. That's what I meant by that."

In the end, Broyles said Nutt is "happy" and "satisfied" he made the right decision by staying with the Razorbacks.

"It's over with," Broyles said. "And (Nebraska's and LSU's interest) tells you what his reputation is. He's still here and we're grateful."

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