There have been a lot of questions surrounding the somewhat odd hiring of Nick Holt as the new on campus recruiting coordinator for the Razorbacks. The main question is why would a former defensive coordinator take such a huge paycut to an administrative staff position? He apparently just wants to help his friend, John L. Smith. Fine.
But the other side of the coin is why did Arkansas take such an interest in Holt? Obviously, he and Smith do go back a bit, but is there any more to it than that? It turns out, for the entire three years Holt was the defensive coordinator at Washington, the offensive coordinator was Doug Nussmeier, who in January was hired to take the same position with, you guessed it, the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Admittedly, it's unlikely that hiring Nussmeier is going to really change Alabama's offense all that much. It's not like they're going to turn into some high-flying Pac 12 system. They're going to pound the ball with a lethal offensive line and future first-round draft picks at running back. Their passing game won't be too flashy but it will be efficient. They'll convert an agonizing amount of third downs to keep drives going. We know Nick Saban is not going to deviate from his process.
But there is the possibility that Nussmeier would've added a wrinkle or two to the playbook. It possibly would've been something from the Pac 12 that most SEC people at least aren't used to. But now that Arkansas has a former coach on the staff who went against Nussmeier's schemes everyday in practice for three years, it seems like it might at least help Arkansas game plan for certain situations. To be ready just in case. After all, is the Alabama game last year much different if Arkansas gains a lot of momentum on that first drive instead of giving up a touchdown on a fake field goal? Honestly, doubtful. But the score probably would've been somewhat closer.
We all know John L. Smith is coaching for his job. One would think beating Alabama would go a long way toward him remaining in Fayetteville. Why not take advantage of any help he can get? If he's got a friend, who also happens to be a coach, who also happens to have some insight into one of Saban's top assistants, and he's willing to do it for much less money than a full time coach makes, doesn't it seem like a pretty low risk-high reward move?
Ultimately, does this give Arkansas some sort of huge advantage over Alabama? No. But this is the SEC. The conference that's so paranoid about advantages that the weather of opponent's towns during recruiting weekends is discussed as legitimate concern. So it's possible that Holt could at least make Arkansas aware of whatever he can bring to the Tide's table that they didn't have a year ago. And in the SEC, that, and some on campus recruiting help, is worth exactly $55,735. It's a better deal than giving it to Jessica Dorrell, anyway.