FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The tumult around the Arkansas
football program has drawn the attention of the university's
chancellor, who said Thursday he believes coach Houston Nutt should
continue to lead the program.
Chancellor John A. White said it was unfortunate the Razorbacks
football team "has been burdened by rampant speculation and
sensationalist remarks" after its offensive coordinator quit and
two star players asked for and received permission to transfer.
White's remarks came less than a week after longtime coach and
athletic director Frank Broyles announced he would retire at the
end of the year. Broyles recommended, and White agreed, that Nutt's
contract should be extended through 2012.
In the past week, Nutt has called two radio talk shows to defend
his leadership of the program amid criticism from fans and sports
writers. On a show Wednesday, Nutt said he remained upbeat despite
Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, hired from Springdale High
School in 2005, quit last month to become assistant head coach at
Tulsa. Two of his prep players, Parade magazine player of the year
Mitch Mustain and receiver Damian Williams, received releases from
their Arkansas scholarships.
A university statement said White intended to support Nutt while
"rebuffing ongoing speculation and commentary."
"It's unfortunate that the days and weeks following a
remarkable football season, which featured 10 straight wins and an
SEC West championship, has been burdened by rampant speculation and
sensationalist remarks over the future of the program," White
The chancellor said he was confident in Nutt's leadership.
Arkansas went 10-4 last season but lost three straight to finish
The parents of three Springdale players met with Broyles to
raise concerns about Nutt's program and some fans said they wanted
to see more of the no-huddle offense Malzahn ran in his high school
days. Nutt said Wednesday that Malzahn had a role in deciding not
to run the no-huddle offense.
Nutt has said he told Malzahn to get the ball to running back
Darren McFadden, last year's Heisman Trophy runner-up.