Nutt talks to media

The media was afforded a brief meeting with new Rebel Football Coach Houston Nutt this afternoon. Look inside for a transcript of the meeting.

Q: Have you had a chance to meet with John Thompson and Hugh Freeze?

Nutt: I have. They are both very good coaches. Right now, I am in the process of trying to put the staff together and I am going to talk to the guys I have been with the last 10-11 years first. This is very difficult because they are excellent football coaches, but at this time I am going to be talking to the guys I have been with the longest.

Q: Is that a loyalty issue?

Nutt: Yes, but those guys are loyal too and were loyal to their coach. I have no problem with that, but the guys I have been to war with it's hard to say "you can't come with me" when they have been with me for so long.

Q: You have already mentioned five who are coming. Is it a matter of waiting on the other four to see?

Nutt: Yes, that and there may be one or two that were with me at other places or been with me before that will have a possibility of being here.

Q: Talk about the situation with the guys you said are coming. It's very unique in terms of helping with a bowl and recruiting for Ole Miss.

Nutt: With all that is going on, being under Arkansas and Ole Miss at the same time, I have decided to send these guys back after talking to Pete Boone and the Chancellor. I am going to let them finish out their bowl preparations and we'll get organized here. We'll have enough time to get everything done. That's been a difficult thing. Those guys need to finish what they started and do some gameplanning and meet with the Arkansas players instead of worrying about who they are recruiting for. They will join me in early January. The five I have mentioned as for sure coming will call recruits for Ole Miss, but only Mississippi guys, states outside of Arkansas and current commitments.

Q: Would the situation change if Arkansas were to hire a new head coach pretty soon? Would your staff there still finish up the bowl coaching?

Nutt: That's a good question. I don't know right now if a new coach would take over the bowl preparations or not.

Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Jevan Snead yet?

Nutt: Yes, we had a good one-on-one visit. I am looking forward to getting to know him better.

Q: Do you expect any concerns with him in regards to just being a QB who hands the ball off?

Nutt: All QBs want to throw it. I was a throwing QB and I wanted to throw it. But I think after talking to him he feels much better. I brought up the Clint Stoerners and Mike Cherrys and even Matt   Jones. They still hold all the Arkansas passing records. We always do what's best with our players' talents. We will continue to do that. We threw a lot more with Stoerner than we did Jones because he was a great passer. I think Jevan felt better about it and after this spring he will see that we will have an offense he will like and will fit his talents, especially with a QB Coach like David Lee, who mentored Tony Romo and took him to another level. That excited Jevan as well.

Q: What is your plan of action with the 22 commitments and recruiting right now? How do you overcome the attacks from other coaches if none of the current staff is retained?

Nutt: That is a good question. We are evaluating recruits right now and looking at our needs. We are just getting organized right now and in order now. This is what makes recruiting very tough and very competitive, but we are used to it. In the SEC, you roll up your sleeves and go to work. I am looking forward to it. I think once they see the type of chemistry we are going to have and check out our offensive and defensive philosophy, we will get our 25 good ones.

Q: What are your goals this week in terms of in-home visits, etc.?

Nutt: Getting organized and finding out which home and school I need to be in. It will be a whirlwind and I can't tell you exactly right now where I am going, but I'll be hitting it hard.

Q: Will (Football Ops - High School Relations) Clifton Ealy stay with you here or will he go back to Arkansas too with the other guys?

Nutt: He will go back as well. They need to finish things out and we will go from there.

Q: What are the challenges of being on your own in recruiting for a couple of weeks?

Nutt: It is a challenge, but I can pick up the phone and get in a lot of homes. We can get enough done in two weeks to be OK. There are a lot of good players here to visit and my guys back in Arkansas have a lot of phone calls to make for us. They are getting their new phones today, so we will be fine.

Q: Will you have any official visits in December?

Nutt: No and I don't like that. December is always a good official visit month for us. In the future, we will be practicing for a bowl game and having officials in December, but not this year.

Q: Have you had a chance to evaluate the current players here any?

Nutt: Not really. We just have recall from the week of preparation we had to play Ole Miss. We've got more studying to do, but we are excited from what we remember.

Q: What was the players' meeting like last Wednesday?

Nutt: Their faces were shock and awe and excitement. Change can be hard, but overall the meeting was good. I let them talk toward the end and I think we left on a good note. We talked 40 minutes and I think after 10 minutes I felt good about the gleam in their eyes. They were excited. But we haven't snapped a ball yet either. (laughs)

Q: What is your comfort level right now?

Nutt: I feel good. A lot of people have wished us well and given us a genuine glad-you-are-here attitude. We appreciate that. I am just anxious to get the staff together and get going. That's the only thing gnawing at me.

Q: How excited are you about the facilities here?

Nutt: Aw, man. Awesome. The facilities are very impressive, much, much better than I anticipated.

Q: What is your philosophy on offense and defense?

Nutt: On defense, stop the run and not give up the big play. On offense, score a lot of points, no matter how you have to do it. What can our guys do? You always want to be able to run the ball but you have to do more than that because the defenses these days force you to be balanced. We will strive for balance.

Q: What are the odds that all your guys (coaches) are going to come with you? The rumor is Reggie Herring is hunting a head coaching job, for instance.

Nutt: I don't know. Reggie is the head coach there and he is interviewing for that job. He's not approaching it that way, but in essence this is an audition for him. Anyone who has had the success he has had would be a real good head coach. You will hear that and we have some other guys who have other choices too right now. We'll see.

Q: How important is the coaching chemistry?

Nutt: Very important. Coaching chemistry shows. You can't fool a young man - they know. They know if things are clicking, just like they know if Mom and Dad are fighting. You can't fool them.

Q: Have you met with any coaches besides Thompson and Freeze?

Nutt: I have not, but I am about to.

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