Hogs Search For Final Piece

FAYETTEVILLE -- Despite the announcement of several coaching changes Friday, Arkansas still has one position to fill on its football staff.

According to sources, the Razorbacks have at least four candidates for the vacancy. They are: Oklahoma tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Kevin Sumlin, Houston Texans receivers coach Kippy Brown, Alabama-Birmingham offensive coordinator Pat Sullivan and Tennessee quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders.

Since new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn can coach either receivers or quarterbacks, the Razorbacks are looking for the candidate who is the best fit for the offense. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said Malzahn will be involved in the interview process.

"There's still one more hire to be made and that's going to be a critical, critical piece of the puzzle," Nutt said during Friday's news conference. "This is the thing that's really convenient right now. Gus can coach the quarterbacks and Gus can coach the wide receivers and he can coordinate from either position. So, we are going to get a fit and we don't know right now which way we'll go."

Malzahn echoed Nutt's sentiments.

"I really feel like for this next hire that we are looking for the best fit that can fit with our offensive staff and give us a chance to be as successful as we can," Malzahn said.

Sumlin has yet to be contacted by Arkansas, according to sources. His coaching history is impressive, though, with stints as a receivers coach at Texas A&M, Purdue, Minnesota and Wyoming. He also was Minnesota's quarterbacks coach in 1997.

Brown fits the profile of Arkansas' ideal candidate since he has professional and college experience. The Texans' public relations department was unaware of any interest in Brown by Arkansas and declined comment Friday.

Sanders spent the first half of this season as the Vols' offensive coordinator before resigning after a loss against South Carolina on Oct. 29 and being reassigned to coaching the quarterbacks only. He left the staff at the end of the season.

Sources in Alabama say Arkansas has been in contact with Sullivan to gauge his interest. The former NFL and Auburn quarterback's name also is being mentioned for Middle Tennessee State's head coaching job, which is supposed to be filled next week.

Nutt said during Friday's press conference that he'll focus on recruiting this weekend and had no timetable on making a hire. If the Hogs decide to go with a coach from the NFL, it could be next month before anything is announced.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories