Nutt and Wally go at it, and 'The Buzz' has it | Rock Candy

Friday, February 9, 2007

Nutt and Wally go at it, and 'The Buzz' has it

Posted on Fri, Feb 9, 2007 at 1:00 PM

Go here for the Houston Nutt call-in to The Show With No Name this morning, in which Nutt took exception to several points in Wally Hall's Democrat-Gazette sports column and where host Tommy Smith basically had to step in between the two (Hall is a co-host with Smith and David Bazzel) before it got too out of hand. There were plenty of opportunities here to take Nutt and his inconsistent statements apart, but Smith and Hall pretty well let the coach off easy.

Man, this is rich. The sports editor finally tired of hearing Houston Nutt's excuses for being such a lousy recruiter, the lastest being that stories in print media about the controversies surrounding the Springdale players and Gus Malzahn's sudden departure from the UA staff submarined the last month of recruiting, leading to the Hogs finishing 9th or worse in the SEC according to the guys who follow recruiting nationally. ESPN ranked Arkansas 10th, as well as 50th in the country.

Funny thing, Nutt managed the same ranking in the "gurus'" eyes going 10-4 as he did going 5-6 and 4-7 the previous two years. He says in the interview he doesn't care where the Hogs are ranked. Watch, he says, as this class will produce another Jamal Anderson (leaving early for a certain career in the NFL and a high draft pick) or another Chris Houston (another junior leaving early for an NFL career). Neither of those players was highly rated or highly recruited but blossomed into stars. In that vein, Nutt is right about the gurus; they miss on players often, and some of those sign with Arkansas.

What didn't get discussed enough, though, was why the top players in Arkansas all left the state. Had Arkansas done what it used to do in recruiting, and that is keep the in-state players at home, the recruiting ranking would have been much higher and die-hard fans not so upset these days. Instead, Auburn (who the Hogs whipped 27-10 last year at Auburn) pulled in a top 10 recruiting class featuring Arkansas prep stars Lee Ziemba and Kodi Burns, as well as Adam Herring, son of UA defensive coordinator Reggie Herring. The latter was not heavily recruited, but Ziemba and Burns were prep All-Americans, and Ziemba was a Parade All-American along with Broderick Green, the Pulaski Academy tailback who chose Southern Cal.

Also, Damian Williams, the Springdale product who started at wide receiver for the Hogs last year, has transferred to Southern Cal, and quarterback Mitch Mustain, who has left Nutt's team after guiding the Hogs to seven wins as a starter in 2006 (and starting another win but playing only briefly before being benched the rest of the regular season) is said to be visiting Southern Cal in March. Mustain is currently still enrolled at the UA. Mustain and Williams were cogs in the Hogs' 2006 recruiting class that finished ranked 27th nationally.


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