Hogs Begin Scheduling Interviews

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas is expecting to interview several candidates for its final football staff vacancy next week, beginning with former NFL coach Alex Wood on Monday.

Wood spent the past six seasons in the NFL and last was the Arizona Cardinals' offensive coordinator in 2004. He also was receivers coach with Cincinnati and quarterbacks coach with Minnesota. Wood said Wednesday he scheduled the interview after receiving a call from Arkansas coach Houston Nutt this week.

"I wouldn't be coming there if I didn't have an interest," said Wood. "I know about Arkansas because it has great tradition in all of its sports programs. Obviously, you have Frank Broyles there and he's a legend in college football. Houston Nutt, we may have met somewhere in our travels in the past, but I don't know him real well.

"But I'm looking forward to coming down there and seeing what he has in mind."

What Nutt has in mind is hiring either a quarterbacks or receivers coach. Former Springdale High coach Gus Malzahn, who was named offensive coordinator last Friday, will be responsible for whichever position isn't filled.

Nutt confirmed Wood's interview Wednesday, but declined comment on other possible candidates. He did outline the ideal make-up of the hire, though.

"We're trying to get the best quarterbacks coach in America or the best receivers coach in the America," Nutt said. "You just want a perfect fit with Gus and the entire offensive staff. You want a guy with great experience that has been either a coordinator before or a guy who's been in the booth and has great eyes. Somebody who is going to sit in and come to work everyday with a smile on their face, wanting nothing but to win.

"That's kind of the recipe."

According to sources, the Razorbacks' plan at least one or two more interviews next week in addition to Wood's. Alabama-Birmingham offensive coordinator Pat Sullivan is reportedly in the process of scheduling an interview, but the former NFL and Auburn quarterback declined comment on the situation this week.

Arkansas has been in touch with former Tennessee offensive coordinator Randy Sanders about the opening. San Diego Chargers quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer also is expected to be contacted.

Other names mentioned as possibilities are Houston Texans receivers coach Kippy Brown and former San Diego State coach Fitz Hill, who previously was on Nutt's staff at Arkansas as receivers coach/recruiting coordinator. Oklahoma tight ends coach/special teams coordinator Kevin Sumlin has been eliminated from consideration, according to sources.

Since several of the possible candidates are in the NFL, the process could take some time. If the Hogs decide to go with a current NFL assistant, a hire may not be made until late January or early February. Fired NFL coaches often will wait a few weeks after the regular season to see if any professionals jobs become available before considering a college opening.

"Right now, we're focusing on recruiting first, but in between that, we're searching for a coach," Nutt said. "You just can't put a timetable on it. It could happen before signing day (Feb. 1), but I just don't know for sure."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories