Coach Nutt Monday Q & A

Houston Nutt spoke with the media Monday. Go inside for the interview.

Everything has been moving very fast. We have been very excited by the reception given by the high school coaches in the state of Mississippi and the junior college coaches. The response has been very good. We feel like with a quiet period, we are catching our breath. We had some good visits, good home visits. We are excited about where we are in recruiting right now. The next time we reconvene right after New Year's, we will get back and really get organized with everybody in place. Let me give you a few more coaches that are for sure coming. I don't know if I told you some of these names before, so I may repeat myself. Let's start on offense. Mike Markuson, offensive line coach. He has been with me for a long time and does a great job recruiting in the Alabama, Georgia area. David Lee, who has coached here before. I am excited about him, offensive coordinator. He has coached quarterbacks. He coached Tony Romo. I think he has a lot to do with his success. I mentioned Ron Dickerson and Ken Dameron before. Those two guys and Tony Hughes have really saved us. Along with Kent McLeod and the grad assistants. I am really proud of them. Their organization really helped us. Still waiting on Tony Hughes. I have to wait and see how it plays out. Defensively, Tyrone Nix. I am really excited to get Tyrone in here as our defensive coordinator. Tracy Rocker, an Outland and Lombardi Trophy winner that has played in the league and also in the SEC. He is from Atlanta and will recruit Georgia. Chris Vaughn I have mentioned, but I will hold there. We are really close. We'll find out exactly within the next week or so. Our guys have done a terrific job and this time is also very difficult trying to catch up. Now, we can wait because of the quiet time. We will get organized, get everybody in a room, and that will be good. I've been doing it with four or five people. Let me talk a little bit about spring ball. I'm jumping around, but this is on my mind, and I am excited about it. I moved spring ball back until after spring break. I like doing everything at one time. We have tried in the past to have a few before spring break, but then you go home and have to re-teach it later. We are going to start after spring break. The spring game will be the 12th of April.

Do you know positions yet for coaches?

Rocker, defensive line. Tyrone Nix, coordinate and linebackers. Offensive line, Mike Markuson. Quarterbacks, David Lee. The others are close, but I want to make sure.

Do you split your corners and safeties?

I do. I have two coaches in the backfield. I like two sets of eyes on the back end. We do split those positions.

Were you close to losing Tyrone to Arkansas?

I don't think we were close to losing him. It was a real battle when family is involved. He has a brother that coaches for Coach Petrino, and you have a chance to coach with your brother. I understand that, and it is a real pull. Tyrone was adamant about being here and spending time in the state of Mississippi. He is happy to get back and is excited.

Is Shibest not coming?

Yeah, he is. I just want to make sure. Two coaches involved are being pulled and recruited. We should have everything lined out really quickly.

How many will you sign in the early signing period?

Two to three. Right in there.

Are there any academic concerns with the returning players?

Every time I have made a move, and I see this across the country. Any time there is change, and your players know there is change occurring, you are always going to have a few that don't finish very strong academically. I don't think there are any on there that we can't get going and can't motivate. After looking at all the grades, we are going to be ok. We have a good support team, and we will get on these guys. It is real natural to let go of the rope, and I know change is hard and depressing. We will get on those guys starting Jan. 2. We'll be ok.

How many in terms of numbers?

I don't know the exact number. It has happened everywhere. Murray State, Boise State Arkansas. All across the country if you did a survey.

Are they ok to go in the spring?

Oh yeah, absolutely. They have to do some work, but we have a good faculty relationship, but they have to do their homework and do things the right way. To me, that is winning. You win in the classroom, on the football field and in the weightroom.

Talk about what Chris Vaughn does for the staff?

I recruited Chris out of Tallahassee Fla., to Murray State. He was an All-Conference linebacker and had one goal. He wanted to be a coach. He said he was going to coach with me one day, and it happened pretty quick. He was the youngest coach I ever hired. He was 23 years of age at the time. Quality person with great character. He'll recruit Florida, and he will get close with these guys. He walks in the room, and you feel like you know him. He is approachable but also a firm, hard coach. I was glad to get him over here early. I am sorry he didn't get to go to the Cotton Bowl, but they needed a spot. I was glad to get Chris.

Is he the recruiting coordinator?

Yes, we will keep that. He has been outstanding with his ideas and energy. Keep that going.

Where will you watch the Cotton Bowl?

I will probably watch it on TV. I will see where my family will be.

Where are you evaluating commits and what do you want to accomplish during this dead period?

We are light years ahead of the last time I talked with you. We have a real handle on our recruiting right now. I feel much better after watching everybody on film. I know the ones we will come after and offer. And then during this dead time, we will get organized with our full allotment of coaches. To get zeroed in, I like to go with two or three coaches in a home. Take the position coach and make sure that player meets the position coach very fast and meets the coordinator very fast and now we start get it going. That is our priority, to figure out where we are going the first ten days. We are also focusing in on position needs. For example, linebackers we will take this many. Corners this many. Tight ends this many. That is the kind of things we will be doing.

How much were the guys in Arkansas with phones able to do?

Not as much as I would have liked. The guys right here were the main recruiters. I would like to have had them all, but hit it hard and caught up.

What positions will you address in the early signing period?

Really hoping defensive end, running back, tight end. That is what I am hoping.

How beneficial is it to have the Miss./Ala., All Star game moved up so you can evaluate the kids during the dead period?

We sent Dameron and Hughes down there. It was beneficial. We will hopefully get the film really soon. There is nothing like watching them live. Checking out positions and ball skills.

Have any other players besides Jevan Snead been proactive in getting to know you?

Yeah, they have. They have done a good job of trying. With the quick turnaround and finals, not all of them could. Micheal Oher did. I'm trying to learn everybody's name right now. A handful of guys have come in. And then some have come by, and I wasn't in or was on the road. They gave effort.

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