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Wally Watch: Special 1997 Edition

Wally Watch

Wally Watch: Where we read Wally Hall so you don't have to.

***Special 1997 Edition***

We give just about anyone - even Wally - a pass for predictions and analysis made ten years ago. Having said that, when we uncovered this treasure trove of Wally columns (and other articles) from the days leading up Houston Nutt's hiring it was too much to resist. So, break out your copy of the soundtrack from Titanic, remember a time when you didn't know the name Monica Lewinsky, and travel with us to December 1997 for this retro Wally Watch.

December 2, 1997: "Here's the early line on UA coaching candidates"

Primary Theme: A ranking of the top candidates to replace Danny Ford, with a little classic Wally humor thrown in. Actually a pretty interesting read 10 years later.

Some Things Never Change: Butch Davis is listed as one of the top candidates. Maybe the 3rd time will be the charm, Butch.

To Be Fair, Sir Isaac Newton Never Developed a Passing Game Either: He describes Houston Nutt (who is 2nd on the list) as "innovative and an offensive genius." Wow!

December 4, 1997: "Hectic coaching search is getting downright Nutty"

Primary Theme: Wally makes his impassioned case as to why Nutt is the man for the job, complete with now-familiar biographical details. Reads a bit like a nomination speech at a political convention (tip: imagining Wally delivering this column as an oration in front of thousands of fired-up fans makes reading it a lot more fun).

Choice Analogy (Two-for-One Special): "In fact, whether he gets the job or not, he fits like gravy on biscuits. Like a new cordless power drill under the Christmas tree."

Maybe He's Talking About Another Houston Nutt: As part of the bio, Wally explains Houston's offensive philosophy, saying that he "calls his own plays and his two favorite are the deep pass and the short pass, not necessarily in that order."

December 7, 1997: "Arkansas fans expect, deserve a sincere search."

Primary Theme: Momentum in the coaching search seems to have shifted away from Nutt and towards Tommy Tuberville, and Wally is pouting a little bit.

High Horse Alert!: Wally crusades for truth, justice and liberty for all, saying "the wording at the news conference of how they came about selecting Tuberville will be a masterpiece of craftsmanship and deception if he is chosen."

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet: "The Razorback Foundation must be loaded, the way it shells out money today."

December 14, 1997: "Nutt brothers learned their parents' lessons well"

Primary Theme: Nutt has been hired, and Wally paints a picture so all-American it makes Beaver Cleaver look like a dangerous radical.

Thank Goodness We Didn't Hire One of Those Damn Hippie Coaches: "In an era of long hair, wild clothes and loud music, the Nutt brothers were different. They had short hair and conservative clothes. Adults were "sir" or "ma'am," and the saltiest words in their vocabulary were "please" and "thank you." No one called them weird. They were wholesome."

Unintentional Irony Alert: Writing about teenage rebellion (hint: Nutt didn't have any), Wally says "Oh, there was probably a secret girlfriend or two at school..."

Relevant Fact: Mrs. Nutt makes her chocolate cookies from scratch. Thank God! Tommy Tuberville's mom, a known Communist, probably uses a pre-made mix.