Arkansas' Nutt insists he wasn't blaming media

Updated: February 10, 2007, 2:04 AM ET
Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas coach Houston Nutt insists he wasn't trying to blame the media for recent problems in recruiting, and he says he never demanded that former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn scrap his hurry-up offense.

The Razorbacks' latest recruiting class has been rated toward the bottom of the Southeastern Conference by some, but Arkansas is coming off a 10-4 season in which it went to the conference championship game. That, Nutt says, puts some of these recruiting rankings in perspective.

"No one blamed the media," Nutt said Friday in a call to a Little Rock radio call-in show. "We've been eighth, ninth, 10th in the SEC in recruiting for a while. But that eighth, ninth and 10th team beat the Nos. 1-, 2- or 3-ranked recruiting in the SEC if you look at Tennessee and Auburn and all those teams."

Nutt also denied that he and the coaching staff treated Malzahn badly. Malzahn left last month to join the staff at Tulsa. Quarterback Mitch Mustain and receiver Damian Williams -- both freshmen who played for Malzahn at Springdale High School -- have also left the Razorbacks.

Malzahn used a no-huddle offense at Springdale, but it never gained a foothold at Arkansas.

"There's no one that was rude to Gus Malzahn," Nutt said during the call-in show on station KABZ. One of the hosts is sports editor Wally Hall of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, whose column Friday criticized the coach.

"Not one time have I ever told Gus Malzahn not to run the hurry-up offense. Not once. Not one time. What I did tell him was this: I want you to get the ball to Darren McFadden."

McFadden, a tailback, finished second in the 2006 Heisman Trophy voting.

David Lee was hired as the new offensive coordinator to replace Malzahn, although Nutt had been looking to add Lee before Malzahn left. Nutt insists he was up front with Malzahn during the process.

"No one goes behind anybody's back," Nutt said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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