Back To Arkansas

Houston Nutt heads back to Arkansas again this weekend. The last time he was there two years ago for this game, his Ole Miss Rebels won 23-21. Nutt knows there are still some who want to beat him. But he believes it is more about winning games than any individuals.

"I don't know. I think it's probably died down a little bit," said the third-year UM head coach who spent 10 seasons as the Razorbacks' head coach. "I'm sure there are a few people who naturally want to see that.

"But again, the thing about the SEC that I'm more concerned with, because our league is so tough, is so good, you'd better be focused on the task at hand. You'd better worry about that. You really don't have time to worry about, well, what do they think or what about the emotion and all that. I'm not really concerned about that. It's about getting these players ready to play."

Evan Swindall

Nutt and the Rebels, 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in SEC play, face an Arkansas team (4-2, 1-2) that allowed 65 points at Auburn last weekend, losing the game by 22 points to the Tigers. Nutt said the Rebel offense will have to perform better than it did against Alabama to give the team a fighting chance to win Saturday.

"Auburn is very, very good," Nutt said, for starters. "What we have to do (vs. Arkansas) is block, know who to block, be ready for their blitzes, be ready for run blitz, pass blitz, and then we have to catch the ball. We (offense) have to stay on the field. We had so many times (in a 23-10 loss at Alabama last Saturday) where we had opportunities to make plays. You just put your defense right back out on the field. You can't do that. You stay on the field offensively by executing."

Nutt said the Rebels came back ready to move forward on Sunday.

"We had a good day," he said of yesterday's work. "We got most of our guys back. We stayed pretty healthy for the most, except for Logan Clair. On the last series (at Alabama), he broke a bone in his ankle. Right now we'll probably go with A.J. Hawkins at right guard. We'll try to get our best guys out there. Then we'll work Jared Duke, Michael Brown, and those guys behind him. It's been one of those years with a lot of injuries. But we keep asking our guys to step up."

Nutt was unhappy with another loss but pleased with the effort of his troops in Tuscaloosa.

"I want to reiterate I thought we played extremely hard," he said. "I thought our guys gave great effort. There are some little things we've got to do better. We've got to score a few more points. The bottom line is that kind of effort and that attitude, especially on defense, that can take us a long way."

More comments from Nutt on Monday:

On the play of Evan Swindall: "Very proud of him, to go in that environment, very first collegiate game, and go against one of the toughest fronts and play as well as he did, proud of him. Held his own. Did a good job."

Melvin Harris

On the improvement of the defense vs. Alabama: "Technique was much better. Everybody doing their responsibility. The biggest thing was gathering around the football. There didn't seem to be as much one on one tackling. At least two or more guys there each play – except for the long screen where we missed a tackle and let him get outside. Played very hard, good tackling. Didn't give up the big play – except for the screen. Did a good job."

On going from facing a power offense to a spread/throw it down the field offense: "That's the biggest challenge we have. Lot of different sets and formations. Good receivers. We expect Mallett to play. But Tyler Wilson came in and did an excellent job. Then they have a good tight end, D.J. Williams, which we know very well. It's so different now. We've got much more responsibilities. Eyes gotta be right. Gotta do a much better job with coverages, and then they'll surprise you with a run every so often."

On Hog QB Tyler Wilson: He was coached very well in high school. Good passing offense there. He's accurate. He came in (Saturday) and showed a lot of confidence. He has a lot of weapons in those backs and receivers. They (OL) protected him and he was accurate."

On Damien Jackson this season: "An excellent signee for us. When you lose the people we lost, we needed a guy like that. He's physical. He's on special teams. He makes big plays. He was an immediate impact on the secondary. I hate to think if he wasn't here."

On Melvin Harris this season: "He's gotten to this point with hard work. He's been a relentless worker. It started last January, and you could see it through the spring. He's gotten heavier and stronger, and he works at it. He comes to practice with a purpose."


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