2007 Arkansas Razorbacks Football Summary
by Paul Lyboult
For the Arkansas Razorbacks the 2007 college football season will be remembered as one of the more exciting seasons in memory. They scored 35+ points eight times and defeated two ranked teams. Darren McFadden again had a memorable season rushing for over 1800 yards and becoming a Heisman finalist for the second time. 2007 will also be remembered as the last year the team was coached by Houston Nutt.
Nutt over the past number of seasons was a very underrated coach. While many hog fans will not wish to think about losing seasons in '04 and '05, all can't stop thinking about 10-4 in 2006 and this past seasons 8-4 record.
Most surprising this year was Nutt propelling the Razorbacks to a shocking 50-48 three overtime thriller against eventual champion LSU. A Cotton Bowl appearance soon followed, but before Nutt could coach that game he was the new coach at Ole Miss.
So what gives? Nutt, an Arkansas native talked of his former team as his "dream job" & coached there for ten seasons. Reports stated that Arkansas actually asked Nutt to stay and offered him a new contract in the $2.4 million range. Nutt instead resigned and took over a team that hasn't been much to talk about since Eli Manning left town.
Arkansas was left in a bind and the coaching candidates included, but weren't limited to, Butch Davis, Tommy Bowden, and Jim Grobe.
Finally the team turned to Atlanta Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino. Petrino resigned from his current job in December and took over the Razorbacks. Petrino, an excellent college coach with a great offensive background, angered many Falcons players with the
way he handled his departure from the team.
I can't blame Arkansas for wanting the best coach possible & attempting to find a decent replacement for Nutt, who for the most part of a decade did a better job than most will give him credit for.
I can blame Arkansas, however, for selecting a coach who quit on his last team. For all of Petrino's success in college he has not been known for his stability. His tenure with any team has never lasted more than 4 seasons and since 1983 Petrino has stopped at 14 different locations. He helped shape Louisville into a Big East elite only to leave for a pro team (and $24 million) that was in shambles. Now he inherits a team that lost its two top running backs to the NFL draft and its defensive coordinator to the same team that he abandoned in December.
How long his stop at Arkansas will be depends on how much he really wants to stay. If Auburn parts ways with Tommy Tuberville in the near future I would expect the former Auburn offensive coordinator wouldn't hesitate to once again jump ship if given the opportunity. For the record I believe Petrino will do a good job as a head coach for the first time in the SEC, but its hard to imagine him coaching for long.
Arkansas defeated the BCS Champion LSU Tigers and had a Heisman finalist taking all the highlights on Sportscenter. The least the Razorbacks could have done is made more of an effort to keep the coach that got them there.
For other articles by Paul Lyboult, go to SEC Football Blog