Coker Speaks To Arkansas' Players

FAYETTEVILLE -- Larry Coker stood on the sidelines Thursday evening, watching as Arkansas' players ran through their final practice before Saturday's Red-White spring game.

Coker spoke to the team before the practice began, and he looked comfortable wearing a red Razorbacks baseball cap. But before the rumors begin circulating, the former University of Miami coach was in town simply to speak at a high school coaching clinic being held on Arkansas' campus. Coker came as a favor to longtime friend, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. The two coaches worked together as assistants at Oklahoma State from 1984-88. "We go back a long way," Coker said. Coker was fired by Miami in late November, ending a six-year run in which he led the Hurricanes to a national championship in 2001 and lost in the BCS title game the following year. At one time, Coker was briefly mentioned as a possible replacement for former Arkansas offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. After Malzahn accepted a position at the University of Tulsa in mid-January, Nutt listed Coker as one of three candidates being considered for Arkansas' offensive coordinator job. But Coker said Thursday that joining Nutt's staff was never really an option for him. Instead, former Dallas Cowboys assistant David Lee was hired. "I think David is a young man that Coach (Nutt) wanted to bring back in. I think that's a great hire," Coker said. "No, (Nutt) never really talked to me about being offensive coordinator." Before Thursday's practice, Coker spoke to Arkansas' coaches and players about not taking things for granted and appreciating the moment. "Larry Coker is a good friend. We've got to spend some time together," Nutt said. "He told them to appreciate these facilities No. 1. ... And he talked about also do the best today, don't worry about tomorrow." Coker, 58, still lives in Miami as he waits for a possible return to coaching. He'll likely take a year off before trying to join a school after this upcoming season. "I feel like I'm in great health, and I feel like I'm in good condition. Watching these guys run around, maybe not," Coker joked. "But I definitely want to (coach again). There's really not a lot out there now, of course."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories