Houston Nutt's Sunday Media Briefing

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt gave his team good marks in many areas in his Sunday briefing with the media, but he didn't like the blocking breakdowns in two areas on two punts.

Overall Remarks:

"It's always good to win the first game," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "It seemed like such a long wait. Our players were so ready to play, and again I appreciate the fans so much. They were just phenomenal. I think Frank Broyles told me last night it was a record-breaking day for walk up ticket sales. That's a special deal.

"I wish you could have seen the freshmen and younger kids on the bus on the way in. I turned back to look around and they were just in awe of the cars, the pileup, the people wearing red. It was a great feeling. They're very fortunate to play in a place like this.

"Our guys played with a lot of passion. They played with a lot of effort from watching the film. We talked about coming out of the chute and playing the first game with a lot of energy and passion and not having very many penalties. That's what I was proud of and the positives are this: playing so hard with so much effort, with passion and then we didn't have that many penalties.

"We talked about eliminating substitution penalties, 12 men on the field, those things that you see in the first week all over the country. We counted six games, four in college and two in pro, that were lost by having 12 men on the field at very crucial times.

"I thought the defense put the offense in such a good situation. When you get seven turnovers and you start the game off with special teams blocking a punt and getting the first points on the board. That's a great feeling.

"Things that we're going to get much better at this week are that we can't relax on the punt even when we're at the 50 or plus going in. You've got to block first. We did that once on the left side and once on the right side and those guys are solid individuals. I think a couple of them couldn't sleep last night from what I understand, so that's makes me feel a little better. We'll get that corrected.

"Offensively, I think we're so much farther ahead, but I know we can do so much better. We scored 34 points, but our defense put us in some great situations. Our backs ran very hard without a turnover. I was really proud of that.

"I thought Matt in the second half really hit another gear. He played harder in the second half and seemed quicker. We were going to get Tarvaris more snaps, but he got hurt with that ankle sprain.

"But we could do much better with our communication between Matt and the receivers. We missed about four times where we could have told the lineman, but he didn't tell the receivers. That's just inexperience. Things like that stopped some drives where we could have scored many more points.

"For the first game I was tickled because of the few penalties, few turnovers, winning the turnover margin and leading the country in turnovers. That's all positive. So I'm excited. I'm excited about our fans and that was a great Wilson Matthews Day."


On Boise State:

"To keep them (Boise State) so off balance early was good, because I kept saying that this is not a cupcake team. They were picked to win the WAC and these guys are very explosive. They can play football and I hate that their quarterback was hurt. That's going to hurt them. He's a cool quarterback and has a perfect release. He's very accurate and he can throw."


On the seniors:

"As seniors I thought Fred Talley, Jermaine Brooks and Raymond House were really focused and that caught on to Tony Bua and Ken Hamlin. I was really proud of those guys.

"The last time Elliot Harris and Arrion Dixon really played was two or three years ago. So what's exciting is that these guys are turning plays and they're only going to get better. Gavin Walls gives us a lift because of his quickness. Keith Turner got about 20 snaps and he gave us some rush. You add Justin Scott and Scott Summers in there and I think they did alright. They had one thing in mind to hit a gap or get to the quarterback; they were trying their heart out to get there."


On the offensive line:

"I thought Dan Doughty played exceptionally well for the first time. He really fought and had only one bad snap.

"Bokermann, Andrews, and Peters smashed a lot of guys on that side and had a lot of knockdowns. They created some running lanes. I think we can still get better. We didn't finish the blocks all the time."


On Coach Wommack's debut as defensive coordinator:

"Dave Wommack is an excellent football coach, very cool under pressure. Bobby Allen really helps him out and Kacy Rodgers has added another level of teaching and techniques. He's a great teacher."

How did last night's game rank among other season openers?

"This has been our best season opener from top to bottom with subsututions, traffic flow from the sideline, penalties. Our coaches deserve a lot of credit. If you took the two blocked punts out it would have been up there. That cannot happen."

On Matt Jones in the first half:

"Matt Jones is better than that. He had a few jitters in the first half. He really came out with his motor running in the second half. He had about six or seven difference maker plays. He does some things that are really mature, and then he does some things that are not so mature. It's just inexperience and he's going to get better."


On South Florida:

"South Florida's quarterback is very scary. He's an athletic guy who can run and pass the ball. They've been beating some folks and putting up points."

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