Seniors from ‘79 Team Address Arkansas' Tired

But then, coach Houston Nutt surprised his players. He gave them the night off, so they could listen as 12 seniors from Arkansas' memorable 1979 team spoke for around an hour about team unity and believing in each other.

"It blew their mind," Nutt said, referring to when his players learned that Thursday's practice had been canceled. "I think they were excited, but I'll tell you what, they were real excited about hearing this group.

"They listened very intently. It's been a good day."

Nutt decided to give his players the day off after he noticed that they were exhausted and had "hit a wall" following Wednesday's two practices.

Nutt realized it was a good time for his players to take a break and listen to those seniors who played on one of the more unforgettable teams in Arkansas history.

The 1979 team went 10-2, shared the Southwest Conference championship and finished the season ranked eighth in the Associated Press' poll.

Twelve of the 14 seniors from that team took turns speaking to Arkansas' current players. The only seniors that weren't present were Birt Locke and Kirk Woolfolk.

"We love this opportunity. We felt it was a privilege, and we're honored that Coach Nutt would have us to do this," said former Arkansas quarterback Kevin Scanlon. "We just feel that it's so much an opportunity to give back."

On Wednesday, Nutt named junior Robert Johnson as Arkansas' starting quarterback for the Sept. 2 season opener against the University of Southern California at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Scanlon said he can relate to the troubles that Johnson has faced over the last year.

After struggling with his accuracy and turnovers as a junior in 1978, Scanlon returned as a senior and improved to the point where he was named the SWC's player of the year.

"You look at the two seasons, and they're nothing a like. And so I'm wishing for Robert the same thing," Scanlon said. "I don't think you can judge him on last year. It's not fair. He didn't get to do enough. I think it's time for this team to rally behind him and believe in him."

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