We recently posted a story about anonymous SEC coaches making comments about Arkansas in Athlon. It’s one of Athlon’s annual offseason pieces that is pretty interesting.
Apparently GridironNow.com is so much of a fan it’s doing the exact same thing.
Who knows if these are the same coaches or not. Most of the quotes are basically the same as what we saw in Athlon. You can see the ones for the SEC West here.
However, there is one quote about Arkansas that certainly stood out. Let’s take a look:
“Arkansas is getting tired of Bielema’s bullshit. He hasn’t won over nine games. Houston (Nutt) won 10 and was a hell of a lot better person.”
This is pretty interesting. First of all, of course, the basic premise is false. Bielema, for better or worse, seems to have a very high approval rating among Arkansas fans. He’s not listed in any story regarding hot seats in college football.
Secondly, it’s impossible not to try to figure out who said this. There’s no specification it was a head coach, so there are 13 other SEC coaching staffs filled with suspects.
The first part of the equation is that it’s someone who hates Bielema. And let’s be honest, he’s made his share of enemies since coming to Arkansas. He has a well-documented history with Gus Malzahn and Auburn, Sam Pittman and Jim Chaney are now both at Georgia and didn’t leave Arkansas under the best of circumstances - particularly Pittman, Bielema made some comments about Florida and Ole Miss after National Signing Day that drew some attention.
The second part of the quote is perhaps more interesting. Houston Nutt’s lone 10-win season at Arkansas (2006) is a very specific reference considering its been a decade since it happened. These are both lines about the culture and history of Arkansas, suggesting it came from someone who has actually lived here and knows the people.
Some of the people who aren’t big fans of Bielema also aren’t supporters of Nutt, like the Gus Malzahn crowd. The Ole Miss staff is also probably not a big fan of Nutt right now as some of their current NCAA problems stem from his tenure in Oxford.
But there are a few coaches who might fit the bill. Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack was an assistant under Nutt from 2001-04. Georgia defensive line coach Tracy Rocker was an Arkansas assistant from 2003-07, so he would have even been in Fayetteville for that 10-win season. However, it’s hard to see why they would be so salty toward Bielema, particularly Rocker.
Possibly the most interesting candidate would be Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton. Nutt hired Horton at Arkansas following the 2006 season and he was part of the staff through 2012...until Bielema didn’t retain him when he came to Arkansas from Wisconsin. Further, Bielema was irritated (to say the least) with Horton back in 2013 when Horton tweeted a message of support to a Razorback player undergoing surgery for an injury Bielema had yet to report to the public. The two of them then had what was without a doubt a pleasant conversation. Horton remains on Malzahn’s staff as of today.
It should be noted, Horton is still held in very high regard by many in the Arkansas community, and believe this would be out of character, which could very well be true.
Anyway, there’s obviously nothing more than circumstantial evidence. It could have been someone completely different. This is just me hypothesizing. Anybody else have any theories?