Fans Not Surprised By Rumors Of Nutt Leaving

LITTLE ROCK -- Brad Brinton said he jumped for joy when he heard on Friday afternoon that Arkansas coach Houston Nutt was rumored to be on the way out at the end of the season.

Brinton, from Tichnor, which is about 63 miles southeast of Pine Bluff, was at work when he received a phone call from his father, informing him of what was being reported on television and radio stations statewide about Nutt.

"He called me and told me that the news stations were reporting that Nutt was going to resign at the end of the season," said Brinton, who attended Saturday's game wearing a black shirt with the words "Fire Nutt" on the back. "And I kid you not, I jumped as high as I could. My co-workers thought I was crazy!"

Although several fans had different opinions about the news that surfaced Friday about Nutt, many of them didn't want to give their names.

"I'm not afraid to say it, I think it's the greatest news I've heard all year," said Joey Atkins, from Dewitt. "I thought (Nutt) should have been gone after last season. This is long overdue."

Other fans were disappointed about Friday's news, saying it'll only be another distraction for the players.

"I like Houston Nutt and I don't think we need any other coach," said Chassity Adams, from Little Rock. "Maybe the players will rally around him now and save his job -- I really hope so. He's a great coach and he brought this program back from nothing. The fans need to cut him a break."

Nutt and other Arkansas officials have denied that the embattled coach will not return next season.

Interested Bowls

Four bowl games were represented -- the Independence Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Liberty Bowl and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl -- at Arkansas' game against Mississippi State on Saturday.

Arkansas remains an attractive team for the Independence Bowl in Shreveport because of the matchup with a team from the Big 12 Conference, said Joe Darwin, the 2007 Independence Bowl chairman.

"There are some old Southwest Conference rivalries that could be rekindled to a certain extent," Darwin said. "The intrigue is the potential match up on the other side, and that could potentially bring out a lot of Arkansas fans."

Arkansas played Missouri in the Independence Bowl in 2003 and won 27-14.

Darwin said Arkansas' game against Mississippi State was a crucial one to potentially get to seven wins.

"This game is critical for both teams," Darwin said. "With Arkansas facing LSU next week, they look at this as their best chance at getting seven wins. To a certain extent, I think Arkansas is looking at this as a play-in game."

The Independence Bowl is looking at Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Kansas State as its Big 12 team, Darwin said.

Another Flyover?

Arkansas fans were treated to yet another pregame flyover Saturday in Little Rock, making it the fourth flyover -- the most in any season -- at Arkansas home games this season.

Saturday's flyover was from the Arkansas Air National Guard's 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith, where four A-10 Thunderbolts flew over War Memorial Stadium.

The A-10 Thunderbolt is a single-seat attack airplane capable of carrying bombs, rockets and missiles.

The airplane also has a 30 millimeter gatling cannon, the most powerful cannon ever fitted to an air force attack airplane, and can shoot 70 rounds per second.

It's been a unique year for pregame flyovers because of how many have been done by Arkansas alumni, Arkansas marketing director Matt Shanklin said.

"There are always Arkansas alum that let us know early in the year that they'd like to be apart of a flyover, and we always put that on our radar to accommodate that," Shanklin said. "It's great for fans, so we'll try to have a flyover anytime we can."

Shanklin said a lot of paperwork has to be done to approve a flyover, which includes early approval from governmental officials at The Pentagon in Washington D.C.

The other Arkansas games where there was a flyover were Kentucky (Sept. 22), Auburn (Oct. 13) and Florida International (Oct. 27), all of which were in Fayetteville.

Extra Points

* Arkansas boxer Jermain Taylor was at Saturday's game, standing on the Arkansas sideline wearing a red No. 5 football jersey. Taylor was the middleweight champion of the world until he was knocked out late in the seventh round by Kelly Pavlik in Atlantic City on Sept. 29.

* Country singer Joe Nichols of Rogers was also at Saturday's game. He, however, did not wear an Arkansas jersey.

* As usual, a sellout crowd showed up to Saturday's game in War Memorial Stadium. However, the Arkansas student section in the northeast corner of the stadium had several big holes of empty seats.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories