Houston Nutt Media Briefing, 10/13

Houston Nutt reviews Arkansas' 38-17 victory over Auburn with the media on Sunday. Here are the highlights from that session with reporters.

Houston Nutt:
        "I'm just really proud of our guys' efforts. I loved their attitude last week. That's where we won the game - preparation and great attitude. There was only one real concern we had as a staff was when we got to Auburn. We were concerned about the heat. It was very hot. We practiced all week at Fayetteville in temperatures anywhere from 50-55 degrees. That was a big difference. You add about 25-30 degrees plus humidity.
        "When you lose guys like Raymond House [high ankle sprain] and Keith Turner [dislocated hip] guys like Jason Peters, Gavin Walls and Scott Summers, step up time and time again. Our defense did a great job - especially in the second half, of preventing long runs, big plays, not letting them in the end zone and getting key turnovers.
        "Our offensive line did a super job. I'm really proud of them. Coaches Mike Markuson and George Pugh did a great job of preparation with Dan Doughty, Jerry Reith - taking the spot of Mark Bokermann. Shawn Andrews did a great job. He just keeps getting better. Nathan Ball is a guy that gets in there and can go to either side. Ball has been our wildcard that can go to any position if anything happens. I'm glad we have him.
        "We worked Marcellus Poydras, Jared Hicks and James Toussaint in there because Jason Peters is having to get more plays on defense. We're not going to give Peters up on offense completely. It's just he's going to go from 12 to 20 to maybe even 25 plays, just depending on the situation.
        "I'm really proud of the effort of both Matt Jones and Tarvaris Jackson. We knew during the week we were going to play them both. We thought we'd even play Tarvaris more, just because they're going to give you the pass. We were going to try and keep the option and gun option going with just a good mixture.
        "I really believe the reason we scored right before the half [on Fred Talley's 80-yard run], the assist goes to Jackson. The safeties were deep and they're thinking pass. We hand it off and Talley hits a crease.
        "Talley had a super day, but all of our backs ran well. De'Arrius Howard ran hard and hit some key runs. Brandon Holmes blocked extremely well. We've done enough celebrating about this game and its time to think about Kentucky.

On Talley's 80-yard run:
        "It was a mixture of good blocking and good running. I really think they thought it was going to be a pass because Jackson was in the game. Fred hit a big crease and made a beautiful cut in the middle of the field against the grain. Their linebackers took a bad angle so they weren't going to catch him. The only one who could really catch him was the safety or corner. Talley broke the tackle, running through him, and found the endzone.
        "George Wilson, Sparky Hamilton and Richard Smith did an exceptional job of playing without the ball. They were so unselfish and we had every intention of throwing the ball 25-30 times, but the run game was working for us."

On Shawn Andrews:
"We knew he was good, but he's exceeding expectations. What's amazing is the shape these guys are in. Don Decker and the strength and conditioning crew has done a great job with conditioning. You want the offense tired, but they're in good shape.
        "Shawn continues to dominate and keeps pushing people back and opening up some good holes for us."

On avoiding an 0-3 SEC start:
        "I'll tell you, it's a great feeling. No one wants to be 0-3. We had that feeling last year and its very hard and difficult. I knew after the Tennessee game, I felt our guys really learned a lot and felt they could play with anybody after that game and felt that we should be 4-1 right now.
        "I think that really helped us going to Auburn. Knowing that in the back of our mind we played Tennessee and had a chance to win the game. When we get opportunities, let's score. We can still improve.

On the run game:
        "I think more and more people will try to take the run away now and start to emphasize that. I think Coach Turbeville and their staff wanted to stop the run. I think they were more concerned about Matt though. When you're concerned about Matt and the edges, you forget about in between the tackles and I think that had a little bit to do with it."

On the running back situation:
        "They're all competitors. Brandon Holmes would like more carries. We all know what he can do. What's hard is to take someone out of a groove. It's going to be hard to take someone like Fred out after what he did this weekend.
"We tell all of our backs to get well and get healthy and your chance is going to come. That's what Fred did and that's what we're going to tell Cedric Cobbs. This is a ten-week grind that we've never had before. When you recruit that well, that's what happens. That's a good problem and you just have to be as fair as you can."

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