Instead, Nutt said he was just using the nationally televised interview as a chance to plug Darren McFadden for the Heisman Trophy.
In case you missed it, Nutt was interviewed by CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson moments after Arkansas’ dramatic win. During the interview, McFadden joined his coach and Nutt launched into a full-fledged, Heisman campaign for Arkansas’ record-setting running back.
“You all better put him in the Heisman,” Nutt said in the interview. “You better put him up there. I’m tired of him being No. 3, No. 4. Somebody better look at this guy. He’s the best football player in the country and his name is not being mentioned. Lou Holtz, Mark May, No. 5, you better look at him a little closer. He’s a football player.”
May and Holtz, who coached Arkansas from 1977-83, are college football analysts at ESPN. Nutt said he received a few phone calls about the comments and tried to explain them Sunday.
“I love Lou Holtz,” Nutt said. “I don’t know Mark May as well, but I love Lou Holtz and played for him, coached with him. One thing I think if you ask him, he knows that I stood up for my guy.”
McFadden, who had slipped out of consideration in Heisman straw polls because of Arkansas’ four losses and subpar performances against teams like Auburn and Tennessee, ran for 206 yards with three touchdowns and threw a scoring pass at LSU in his last chance to impress Heisman voters.
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is now considered the frontrunner for the award, but McFadden finished the regular season with a school-record, 1,725 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has completed 6 of 11 passes for 123 yards and four touchdowns. He also is second on the team in receiving with 21 catches for 164 yards and one touchdown.
Voters must turn in their Heisman ballots next week. It will be awarded in New York on Dec. 8 and Nutt hopes McFadden will be in attendance.
“I just want my guy to be mentioned in the Heisman,” Nutt said. “He was second last year in the Heisman Trophy ballot. He was second and he’s having a better year this year. So why wouldn’t he be there? I just think he deserves that. I just felt like he deserved to be mentioned.”
McFadden Earns Honor, Breaks Record
McFadden’s Heisman hopes have yet to be determined, but the junior was named the national offensive player of the week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation on Sunday.
The running back piled up 255 all-purpose yards against LSU. He now has 2,172 all-purpose yards this season, which breaks the Southeastern Conference’s single-season record.
His tenure at Arkansas remains in question, but Nutt indicated he is hoping to get a contract extension for receivers coach Alex Wood.
Wood, who was hired as Arkansas’ quarterbacks coach in 2006 and moved to receivers coach this season, is in the final year of a two-year contract that pays him $175,000 annually. The rest of Nutt’s staff still has at least one year left on their contracts.
“Hopefully, we get his renewed very quickly,” Nutt said. “This time of year, everybody’s going to start sniffing around and trying to recruit those guys, too, when you have good years. And so you always worry about that. I want to keep them.”
The Arkansas job isn’t open, but Nutt relayed a message from former Razorbacks and legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson.
“By the way, Jimmy Johnson said he’s not leaving to take this job,” Nutt said. “It’s too tough. That was his words.”
Nutt said Johnson called to congratulate him for the Razorbacks win.
Vote for Richardson
Cornerback Matterral Richardson’s overtime interception has been nominated as a candidate for the Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Week. The senior pulled in a pass intended for LSU receiver Demetrius Byrd on the Tigers’ final two-point conversion attempt to preserve Arkansas’ 50-48 win in three overtimes.
Fans can vote for the four finalists for the weekly award at pontiac.com/ncaa. Voting ends at midnight Wednesday. The winner will be announced on ESPN on Thursday night.
Arkansas’ upset at top-ranked LSU helped the Hogs slip back into one national poll Sunday.
The Razorbacks are ranked No. 25 in this week’s USA Today Coaches Poll. But they are not ranked in The Associated Press’ top 25. Instead, Arkansas is atop the “others receiving votes” list with 138 points.
It is the first time Arkansas has appeared in a national poll since losing to Alabama in September. The Hogs were ranked 16th in both at the time.