November 16th, 2011 03:33 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Ole Miss
Tags: Korvic Neat, Louisiana Tech, LSU, Nickolas Brassell
As a lame-duck coach, it would be easy for Houston Nutt to look the other way when it comes to rules violations by his players as they finish off the season. After all, why not make sure his best players are on the field? Every loss hurts his reputation, his career mark, and his chances of landing his next coaching job a little bit more. Best to go out with a fully loaded gun.
But Nutt is choosing to go down with some integrity instead. And while we’re sure many Arkansas fans will scream bloody murder because we’re crediting Nutt for anything, in this case, he really seems to be putting his players’ needs ahead of his own.
Yesterday, Nutt announced that his starting quarterback Randall Mackey and his leading rusher Jeff Scott will be suspended Saturday against #1 LSU. He also said it looks like the pair (along with receiver Korvic Neat) will be benched against Mississippi State, too.
The players were done in by the dreaded “violation of team rules.”
“I hate it,” Nutt said. “Got to learn how to handle change and it’s tough for a lot of them. Especially when the season doesn’t go just right, it’s easy to let go.”
Also, receiver/cornerback/playmaker Nickolas Brassell should be back on the field against LSU after being benched for much of last week’s game with Louisiana Tech. Nutt said of his freshman:
“One thing we have to teach our freshmen is you have to really study the game plan. It’s a lot different than just waiting until the lights come on and go play. As talented as you are, you have to study the game and be consistent and do things the right way.”
Nutt has taken a beating over the years for oversigning players. We ourselves have rolled our eyes at his near-constant suggestions that his job is about “helping young men” (as if football talent had nothing to do with the number of second- and third-chance players he’s tried to rescue).
But in these instances, Nutt has had no need to teach his players how to better respond to change or how to take game preparation more seriously. He’s vapor, he’s gone. The next guy can worry about Brassell and Mackey and Scott.
The fact that Nutt isn’t going that route deserves a thumbs-up just as so many of his previous actions have been given thumbs-down.
As his SEC coaching career draws to a close after more than a decade, Nutt’s proving that he’s not just running out the clock. Kudos for that.
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