The 2007 Arkansas Razorback football season was indeed one for the books. In it, you had the noticeable departure after the 2006 season of Mitch Mustain and Damian Williams to Southern Cal, the equally noticeable departure of Gus Malzahn (pronounced Mal-zahn, not Mal-A-zahn), to Tulsa, the return of the stellar running back tandem of McFadden & Jones, and the continued impotent passing game that had become the mantra of a Houston Nutt-coached Razorback team.
In a four-day span at the end of November, the 2007 season would leave much for the masses to digest. The thrilling victory over No. 1-ranked LSU led to what Arkansas fans never would have expected, at least not so soon. When Houston Nutt stepped down on Nov. 26, many fans ridiculed the decision, while many others rejoiced. Within 24 hours, he would become the 36th head football coach at Ole Miss, with $3.75 million of Razorback Foundation money in tow.
An “interim” staff would lead the Hogs into the Cotton Bowl against Missouri and “coach” the Razorbacks to 38-7 defeat. Nutt persuaded four of these assistants to join him in Oxford. In all, nine former members of Nutt’s Arkansas staff’s in his 10 years would join him at Ole Miss in some capacity.
And so, with apologies to Monty Python and John Cleese, “And now for something completely different …”:
To compare the difference in the 2007 and 2008 Razorback football programs, we must look at the two coaches that will forever be linked to these two squads.
The similarities between Bobby Petrino and Houston Nutt stop at one point: Both are SEC Western Division Head Football Coaches. Period. Paragraph.
The differences between these two SEC Western Division head coaches couldn’t be more apparent. Let me point out what Bobby Petrino offers the Razorback faithful that Houston Nutt never could:
• Bobby Petrino has had seven different stints with different organizations as offensive coordinator. He was OC at Carroll College, Idaho, Nevada, Utah State, Louisville, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Auburn. Houston Nutt NEVER served as an offensive coordinator before becoming a head coach. Play calling is overrated, anyway.