Hot Seat A Popular Topic

HOOVER, Ala. -- Arkansas coach Houston Nutt wasn't the only coach whose job security was mentioned during Southeastern Conference Football Media Days on Friday.

If the first afternoon of the three-day event was "New Coach Wednesday" because of the three coaches that debuted at new schools, the third should've been touted as "Hot Seat Friday."

Alabama coach Mike Shula and Kentucky coach Rich Brooks also faced questions about their jobs. And Shula, who is entering his third year with the Crimson Tide, said the inquiries are nothing new in the profession.

"When I took this job, my name was on the hot seat from day one," Shula said. "That's how I look at it. I'm not just talking about here, anywhere. So I don't worry about that. If I do, then I'm not worrying about what I need to be concentrating on and that's helping this football team improve.

"I know this: When you win games people are usually going to say good things about you and your football team. When you lose games they are probably not going to say good things about you and your football team."

Alabama is 10-15 in Shula's first two seasons, but has been plagued by scholarship reductions and injury problems. The Crimson Tide were projected to finish third in the SEC by the media covering this week's event.

Brooks' Wildcats also are on probation, but have shown little signs of improvement during his tenure. Kentucky is 6-17, 2-14 in the SEC in his first two seasons and has been placed at the bottom of the league in most preseason polls.

"I can't control job security," Brooks said. "All I can do is control the direction we're headed and the plan and the path to achieve bringing Kentucky out of probation.

"Whether I am allowed to finish the process or not, I can't control that."

Nutt said coaching turnover is a fact of life in college football, where "everybody wants to go to a bowl or the (Bowl Championship Series) yesterday." Four SEC schools are unveiling new coaches this season and 10 programs have made changes in the eight years since Nutt was hired at Arkansas in December, 1997.

Some, like Alabama, have had four different coaches in that span.

"That part of it, in my opinion, doesn't really matter," said Arkansas center Kyle Roper, who was asked about the criticism coaches receive. "They're always going to be there. As long as they're coaching their hardest for me and trying to get me better and the team better and wanting to win, that's all that matters."

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