Nutt Speaks


Sunday, November 21st 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Two touchdowns were enough for
Arkansas to beat Mississippi State and Razorbacks coach Houston
Nutt said it was as tough as it looked squeezing those points out
of the Bulldog defense.

"Our offensive line did a good job. We didn't allow any sacks
and we created some running lanes. A couple of times Cedric Cobbs
was ankle tackled when he was just about to pull away," Nutt said
Sunday. "Clint Stoerner made a big play when he hit Anthony Lucas
with a long pass."

Stoerner completed 7-of-10 passes on one touchdown drive and
threw a 33-yard pass to Lucas to set up the second TD, enough for a
14-9 victory Saturday that enabled the Razorbacks to keep their
Cotton Bowl hopes alive.

"Offensively it was frustrating," Nutt said. "We knew we had
to be patient against their defense. One of the best things we did
was kill nearly four minutes on our last drive. I wish we had made
one more first down but it was critical to eat up the clock at that
stage."

Nutt said the Bulldogs blitzed less frequently than he
anticipated.

"When we were backed up, they threw so many different fronts at
us it was confusing. They didn't blitz much, which was surprising
but it was probably because they respected our receivers," he
said.

The defense kept State on its heels despite good preparation by
the Bulldogs, he said.

"Our eight defensive linemen that we roll in there ... deserve
a lot of credit. It can be frustrating playing Mississippi State
because you know the quarterback is going to get rid of it," Nutt
said. "(Lineman) Randy Garner had been coming all night and
finally sacked him at the end."

The coach also credited his secondary, noting David Barrett
allowed some catches but never a big play. Arkansas allowed 240
yards passing.

"Kenoy Kennedy at free safety was excellent playing in the
middle. They picked on our other cornerbacks but those guys are
getting better. We didn't allow a touchdown. That was huge."

Consecutive victories over ranked teams shows Arkansas is better
now than when it dropped three road games this season, the coach
said.

The Razorbacks (7-3 4-3 Southeastern Conference) jumped from No.
22 to No. 17 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Mississippi State (8-2, 5-2) fell from No. 12 to No. 18. Arkansas
beat Tennessee-- ranked third at the time -- 28-24 a week previous.

"It's huge to beat teams ranked third and 12th back to back. It
gives our team a lot of confidence. Who would have thought we would
beat Tennessee? We spent so much energy and emotion in that game it
was remarkable to come back so well against Mississippi State.
These victories help in bowls, polls and recruiting, all those
things that count in November.

"Yes, I think about the losses earlier in the year. We're a
different team. Our offensive line is better. Look at the
Tennessee-Kentucky game. Yet, when we had our chance against
Kentucky we didn't take advantage. You can't look back. We could
have done better but we didn't. This has been our year to deal with
a lot of injuries. We didn't have that last year," Nutt said.

Arkansas has a short week to get ready for Friday's game against
Louisiana State (2-8, 0-7) at Baton Rouge.

"We're really banged up. Jamel Harris hurt an ankle. Cedric
Cobbs has a sore foot. Michael Williams has a separated shoulder
and will miss the game. It's possible he could return for a bowl
game. Joe Dean Davenport hurt his knee a little. We think we'll
have everyone but Michael Williams back by Friday but we don't know
about during the week," Nutt said.

Arkansas will play a Tiger squad that had an open date last
weekend but lost its coach when Gerry DiNardo was fired during the
week.

"LSU has a big advantage. They've had a week off. They have a
new coach which could rally the troops. It's scary. Baton Rouge is
a tough place to play. We haven't been good on the road," Nutt
said.