Arkansas' Malzahn headed to Tulsa; Mustain next?

Updated: January 15, 2007, 6:11 PM ET
By Joe Schad | Special to ESPN.com

After only one season at Arkansas, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn will leave the program for Tulsa.

"Gus and I go way back with the spread offense and no-huddle," Tulsa coach Todd Graham said Monday. "I said to Gus, 'You need to come on board here.'"

Malzahn, who made a successful transition from Springdale (Ark.) High School to the Razorbacks, helping the team to a 10-4 record, will join Graham's staff as co-offensive coordinator.

"We are very appreciative of the many contributions Gus made to our staff and to our program during his tenure with the Razorbacks," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "I wish him nothing but the best both personally and professionally as he takes on his new role."

Former West Virginia tight ends coach Herb Hand will serve as Tulsa's other co-offensive coordinator.

Malzahn arrived at Arkansas with much fanfare, and brought with him freshman quarterback Mitch Mustain, considered by some the nation's top player, and three other Springdale players. Some speculated there was a connection between Malzahn's hiring and the commitments.

But one of those players, wide receiver Damian Williams, transferred to Southern California after this season, displeased that Malzahn's no-huddle, spread attack was never unveiled.

"We are very appreciative of the many contributions Gus made to our staff and to our program during his tenure with the Razorbacks," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "I wish him nothing but the best both personally and professionally as he takes on his new role."

Several parents of the Springdale freshmen went to athletic director Frank Broyles in December to complain about their sons' roles in the Arkansas offense. Mustain's mother even put out a statement suggesting Malzahn should have control of the program.

Now, with Malzahn's departure, there will be speculation about Mustain's future. The quarterback lost his starting position to Casey Dick at the end of the season. And Tulsa is only 1 hours from the town of Springdale.

Mustain's mother, Beck Campbell, said Monday that she's not sure what her son will do.

"This breaks my heart," Campbell said. "We're going to have to sit down and talk about it. Classes start tomorrow and I don't know what he'll do."

Campbell said her son will not necessarily follow Malzahn to Tulsa, if he opts to transfer.

"He and Gus are not tied at the hip," Campbell said. "But he knows what he's capable of and what his vision for offensive football at Arkansas was. Now you'll have to wonder if that will go by the wayside."

After a 10-1 start, Arkansas lost the last three games of its season, including a 17-14 defeat at the hands of Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.

Six members from Graham's staff at Rice will follow him to Tulsa. Assistants Dean Jackson, Danny Phillips, Jason Jones, Jess Loepp, Bo Graham and strength and conditioning coordinator Yancy McKnight will help coach the Golden Hurricanes. Jackson is the only offensive coach coming from the Owls' staff.

Joe Schad is ESPN TV's national college football reporter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Joe Schad

College Football