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Houston Nutt, Gus Malzahn, and Mustain/Springdale Back In The News

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I wasn't planning on discussing this, but here we are.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Traditions dominate college football. We all know that, and generally it's something we all love about it.

But some things seem to become traditions for no other reason than they simply will not die.

The Houston Nutt/Gus Malzahn/Mitch Mustain saga is one such story. Now that Nutt is out of coaching and making the rounds in the media as well as making local appearances around Arkansas at the same time that Malzahn's career as a head coach is taking off, their relationship is often a popular topic.

That's been very true over the last month or so. Malzahn participated in a radio interview a couple weeks ago on a SiriusXM show in which Nutt is a cohost. And this week, Nutt made an appearance at the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club.

They never say anything particularly controversial. Malzahn, always one to avoid controversy if he can help it, has only ever said he appreciates Nutt giving him the opportunity to coach in college football. Nutt, nowadays, says about Malzahn, "I'm really proud of him."

Then this week at the Touchdown Club,

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>HDN: There is a perception that Gus &amp; I did not get along. That&#39;s not true. We get along just fine and I enjoyed being around him at Auburn.</p>&mdash; Hawgs Illustrated (@HImagazine) <a href="https://twitter.com/HImagazine/status/507222427303428097">September 3, 2014</a></blockquote>

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This is all sweet and nice. But it's a lie. All of it. And frankly, it's insulting to all of us who lived through all of it.

Perhaps they've decided to let bygones be bygones, and that's great. But to pretend that everything has always been cool between them is ridiculous.

We all know the stories, including Nutt's public resistance to implementing Malzahn's offense. Malzahn didn't leave the reigning SEC West champions for the same title at Tulsa because things in Fayetteville were too peachy. Damian Williams and Mitch Mustain didn't transfer to USC because they were just too happy at Arkansas.

This isn't to suggest Arkansas fans should continue to hate Nutt or Malzahn. It's been a long time. It's good to be at peace with things. If Razorback fans want to embrace them now, fine. However, it's not good nor fair to sit back and let them rewrite history. What happened, happened.

Beck Campbell, Mitch Mustain's mother, is apparently also not willing to sit back and let the coaches try to gloss over everything. Nate Olson at Sync shared these comments from Campbell that she published somewhere on social media:

"For the record … in spite of what Nutt said at the [NWA Touchdown Club] and what Gus said in his radio interview … they DID NOT get along. EVERYTHING bad that happened the year they worked together was a direct result of the pissing match between the two … to say otherwise is an out-right lie. Just had to get it out there …"

Then in a follow up phone interview Thursday morning:

"Some people have told me to let it go, and I have let it go, but I am tired of history being rewritten," Campbell said by phone Thursday morning. "We aren’t the ones lying about what happened. One person needs to stand up and tell what really happened. A person at the university should have taken responsibility for what happened."

She says the feelings of betrayal run deeper with Malzahn because he was a trusted family friend. Malzahn has had opportunities to divulge his side of the story but has stayed tight-lipped. "He told me he was going to take care of Mitchell and not let him get hurt. I trusted [Malzahn]," she says.

Cambell also said she originally intended to sue Nutt, Frank Broyles, Teresa Prewitt, and John White, but Mustain convinced her not to (honestly, for totally selfish reasons I completely wish that happened).

She said Nutt and Malzahn held such animosity toward each other that Mustain is still living with the ramifications from it.

Many Razorback fans are as well. With Malzahn's instant success at Auburn coming at a time when Arkansas struggled to a 3-9 season, there were plenty of loud voices bemoaning that Arkansas never hired Malzahn to be head coach. Hopefully that won't continue as strongly in the future, but as long as Malzahn is a successful college coach, there will likely be some bit of it in the air.

Nutt, meanwhile, has apparently come around on the idea of the HUNH offense:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>HDN: Loves the up-tempo offense these days. I&#39;ll just let that comment stand on its own.</p>&mdash; Hawgs Illustrated (@HImagazine) <a href="https://twitter.com/HImagazine/status/507221830596587520">September 3, 2014</a></blockquote>

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We'll always have the "what-ifs".