Malzahn To Get Contract Extension

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Arkansas offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn can expect a contract extension sometime after the Capital One Bowl.

Malzahn, the former Springdale High coach, has one year remaining on his contract after this season. But Arkansas coach Houston Nutt has indicated that an extension and raise for Malzahn will be worked out sometime after the Razorbacks return to Fayetteville.

In his first season as the team's offensive coordinator, Malzahn has added some trick plays and implemented the Wildcat formation with running back Darren McFadden taking the direct snap at quarterback.

There has been talk that Malzahn would get a contract extension to prevent other schools from trying to pursue him regarding other jobs. But Malzahn has said that he wants to stay at Arkansas.

"First, I'm excited to be here and to be working here. I'm very excited to be coaching at Arkansas and to be representing my home state," Malzahn said recently. "We need to win one more game is what I'm focused on first, but I'm excited about (the contract extension)."

Fixing Special Teams

Arkansas had gotten big plays from its special teams over the first 11 games of the season. But miscues in that area have contributed to the last two losses.

That's why the Razorbacks have spent plenty of time in the weeks leading up to the Capital One Bowl on trying to correct the special-teams mistakes.

"We always have emphasis on our special teams here," Arkansas punt returner Reggie Fish said. "Coach (Bobby) Allen and Coach (Houston) Nutt have just been talking about how they thought our special teams have been good for the most part this season, but the last few games it has just been average."

The problem began when Arkansas allowed LSU's Trindon Holliday to break off a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The score played heavily in the Tigers' 31-26 win on Nov. 26.

A week later, Fish fumbled a punt in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, which Florida recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. The fumble came less than five minutes after Arkansas had taken its first lead in the third quarter.

"We've been so good the first 10 weeks (on special teams)," Nutt said. "You don't want to lose ball games because of that area. We've been too good in that area, and it's a cheap way to give up a game. So we're really concentrating on that."

Fish said Arkansas' coaches have worked with him on field awareness. Specifically, when Fish is at the 15-yard line, he can only move back five yards to field a punt.

"That mistake will never happen again," Fish said of his costly fumble.

You're Next, Goofy

For the record, Mickey Mouse hasn't been harmed.

Earlier this month, Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring joked about how he wanted his players to be physical when they got to Orlando for the Capital One Bowl.

"When we go down to Orlando, we've got to punch Mickey Mouse in the mouth," Herring said.

So has that happened yet?

"I guess word got out because I haven't seen him yet," Herring said, referring to Mickey Mouse.

"In all seriousness, all that was was our theme. Our theme was, we were going to set the tempo even before we left (Fayetteville). It's going to be a physical game, we had to be in a physical frame of mind and that's our job is to make sure our players are ready to go."

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