Kiffin, Leach Emerge As Early Candidates

FAYETTEVILLE -- Two head coaches known for their high-powered offenses have emerged as potential candidates to replace Houston Nutt, who was criticized during his tenure at Arkansas for being too conservative with his playcalling.

A source familiar with the situation said Tuesday that Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin could be a good fit for the Razorbacks. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Kiffin has wanted to coach at the college level.

Kiffin is in his first season with the Raiders, but there is talk that he might be unhappy with the situation. Oakland is 3-8 this season, and the team has had quarterback issues despite using its first overall pick last April to draft former LSU signal-caller JaMarcus Russell.

Kiffin is no stranger to Arkansas. His father, Monte Kiffin, served as a defensive coordinator on Lou Holtz' staff from 1977-79.

In addition, Kiffin was the offensive coordinator at the University of Southern California when the Trojans routed the Hogs 70-17 in 2005 and then 50-14 in Reynolds Razorback Stadium a year ago.

Kiffin, whose job security with the Raiders has been questioned as recently as last week, signed a three-year contract with Oakland in January.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, known for his record-breaking, pass-friendly offense, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Nutt.

Leach, a former Kentucky assistant coach, has also been rumored to be interested in taking over at UCLA if coach Karl Dorrell is fired.

Incoming Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, who will officially assume control when Frank Broyles retires at the end of the year, is handling the national search to find Nutt's replacement.

But Long has remained quiet since Nutt announced Monday night that he was resigning after 10 seasons at Arkansas because the intense scrutiny from fans was taking a toll on his family.

Nutt reportedly agreed to a contract late Monday night to be Ole Miss' new coach, and he will be introduced at a news conference today in Oxford, Miss.

Long, meanwhile, attended Nutt's farewell news conference, but he was not made available to the media. He didn't speak with reporters Tuesday, either.

Though his last day on the job is not until Dec. 31, Broyles said he will not have a part in looking for Arkansas' next coach.

"I don't think that I will be asked. I don't think that I'll be included in anything," Broyles said Tuesday. "I think that's the proper way to do it."

Broyles declined to comment when asked if he would like to be involved in the search to find Nutt's replacement.

Jim Lindsey, a high-profile member of Arkansas' Board of Trustees, said Tuesday that he also won't be involved in the coaching search. In the past, Lindsey has had a say in other Arkansas athletic issues.

"I'm going to sit back, and if I'm asked at the highest level, I'll give my opinion," Linsey said. "I'm not just going to talk about it (with Long)."

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