Not Digging Black Shirts

Arkansas teammates Darren McFadden and Jerell Norton speak out Monday against protesting fans who wore black shirts to the Razorbacks' 66-7 win over North Texas on Saturday.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas running back Darren McFadden has never shied away from supporting his coach, Houston Nutt, and proved it in a public way after the 66-7 win against North Texas last Saturday.

The Heisman Trophy candidate spoke out against a group of fans wearing black shirts in protest of Nutt during the post-game celebration.

McFadden grabbed a microphone after the team sang the fight song with the student section following the win. He told the fans in black that if they don't support Nutt, they don't support the players.

McFadden couldn't remember exactly what he had said Monday, but acknowledged he was sticking up for his coach and teammates.

"That was something I didn't know much about," McFadden said. "At first I didn't know about the black shirt thing until I was informed about it right before the game. It was something I said. It was just something I feel like I needed to say by being a leader on this team.

"I feel like a lot of our players feel the same way about Houston Nutt. I feel like he's a great coach. I feel like if you ask one player they'll down talk him."

In fact, McFadden wasn't the only Arkansas player to admonish the black shirts and voice his support for Nutt on Monday.

Cornerback Jerell Norton said he and the rest of the Razorbacks were disappointed to see fans wearing black. The sophomore said their actions have been taking a toll on someone he feels is a "great man" and it's frustrating players, too.

"Just so fans know, we don't sit too well with that whole black shirt deal and wanting Coach Nutt gone," Norton said. "If Coach Nutt leaves, we leave. We all love Coach Nutt. We all are fans of Coach Nutt first and foremost. I love him. He recruited me. He's a great guy, great head coach. I just think it's real disrespectful that some fans will view it that way.

"If you wear a black shirt, that's not cool. If you want Coach Nutt gone, you want us gone. ... We're all Hogs."


Freshman Damario Ambrose was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts against North Texas. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Ambrose had eight tackles and 1 1/2 for losses against the Mean Green.

"He'll have a few busts because he's young and he goes the wrong way sometimes, doesn't plug his gap the right way," Nutt said. "But I'll tell you this: The one thing you can pick up from the film on him is he is going full speed. He plays extremely hard. He plays with a lot of intensity and passion. He can't go wrong when you play like that."


Running back Michael Smith has returned to practice, but it doesn't mean he'll get to play against Chattanooga in Little Rock on Saturday.

Nutt said the Razorbacks will watch the sophomore, who was suspended after being arrested on Sept. 23 for allegedly using a stolen credit card, before making a decision on his availability.

"We're going to see how he does," Nutt said. "See how he does with (student life coordinator) Rodger Hunter's program, make sure he's still doing things right. Make sure he's learned a lesson and go through all those procedures first."


Game time for the Auburn-Arkansas game on Oct. 13 has been set for 6:45 p.m. It will be televised by ESPN.

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