|Health forces Danny Nutt to step down as Arkansas RBs coach|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 17 July 2007 22:24|
It was a bigger struggle than many people realized.
``I can't tell you how many times that he's had to push through, and that makes him to me a very extraordinary person,'' said Houston Nutt, the Razorbacks' head coach. ``To be able to push through when you wake up and you're dizzy, you're off balance, and you're praying, 'Hey, I just want to make it to the next practice. I just want to make it through two-a-days.'''
Danny Nutt is resigning now because of a recurrence of bleeding from his brain stem. Nutt, 46, had brain surgery in 1998. He is currently receiving treatment for what the university called ``a serious condition that includes bleeding from his brain stem.''
Nutt is in Fayetteville and not in the hospital, university spokesman Kevin Trainor said, but his condition ``could be life-threatening.''
Trainor said Danny Nutt would have no additional comment. Houston Nutt met with reporters shortly after the announcement Tuesday.
``Danny's always said he's always had the best job in the country,'' he said. ``He loved his work, loved his players, and I think the players loved him.''
Danny Nutt is being treated by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, his brother said.
He has been on his brother's staff since Houston Nutt took over at Arkansas before the 1998 season. The Razorbacks open the 2007 season Sept. 1 against Troy. Danny Nutt was also an assistant for his brother at Boise State and Murray State.
``We knew this day was coming,'' Houston Nutt said. ``He wanted so badly to finish this year.''
Arkansas' running game is often among the best in the Southeastern Conference, especially lately. Darren McFadden and Felix Jones both rushed for over 1,000 yards as sophomores last season, with McFadden finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting. The Razorbacks went 10-4.
``He deserves a lot of the credit,'' Jones said. ``He established some of the plays that we run. He just puts us in a position that we can't fail in.''
Nutt and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn were credited with an innovation last year - the ``Wildcat'' set in which McFadden lined up at quarterback and could run, hand off or pass. Neither Nutt nor Malzahn remains on the staff. Malzahn left in January for Tulsa and was replaced as offensive coordinator by David Lee.
Other assistants from last year have also changed roles this offseason. Alex Wood went from quarterbacks to receivers coach, defensive backs coach Louis Campbell is becoming an assistant athletic director, and Chris Vaughn is moving from on-campus recruiting director to safeties coach.
Houston Nutt said he would begin searching immediately to replace his brother on the staff. Arkansas players report to camp Aug. 2 and begin practice Aug. 4.
Jones said he found out Tuesday morning that Danny Nutt would no longer be coaching.
``We knew previously that he had trouble. We didn't think it was so serious,'' Jones said. ``We're just going to pray for him.''
Houston Nutt said Danny Nutt could face more surgery - and said he hopes a decision will be made after Danny Nutt sees a doctor Thursday.
``I can't be technical guys, because I don't know,'' Houston Nutt said. ``Just the little bit that I do know, the bleed - it affects the left eye. ... Right now, just walking to the car is difficult.''
Arkansas' offseason has been a tumultuous one. After Malzahn left, prized freshman quarterback Mitch Mustain transferred to Southern California, and a firestorm developed over a nasty e-mail sent to Mustain during the season by booster Teresa Prewett. Prewett, a Little Rock physical therapist, is a friend of the Nutt family who helped Danny Nutt rehabilitate after surgery in 1998.
Like Houston, Danny Nutt went to high school at Little Rock Central. Danny Nutt played quarterback at Central Arkansas and Arkansas. He served as a graduate assistant at Arkansas and an assistant coach at Appalachian State and Arkansas Tech.
``There's been a lot of jokes about, 'It's not brain surgery,''' Houston Nutt said. ``Well let me tell you something: Brain surgery is real. It is hard, and it's a miracle he's gotten this far.''