1. Nutt Returns, Praises Tempo: Houston Nutt wasn’t exactly a proponent of the hurry-up, no-huddle offense when he had Gus Malzahn on his staff at Arkansas during the 2006 season.

1. Nutt Returns, Praises Tempo: Houston Nutt wasn’t exactly a proponent of the hurry-up, no-huddle offense when he had Gus Malzahn on his staff at Arkansas during the 2006 season.


But eight years later, the former Razorbacks coach has changed his mind.


"I love the up-tempo, on the ball, over and over," Nutt said. "They keep doing that and the defense is tired. I love that."


Nutt’s pace of play revelation came during his appearance as the guest speaker at the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club on Wednesday. Now a college football analyst for CBS Sports and XM College Sports radio, Nutt told stories about his time with the Razorbacks, preached patience for Arkansas’ rebuilding under current coach Bret Bielema and addressed his relationship with Malzahn.


Nutt also was asked if he planned to coach again. And if so, would he make any changes to the offensive philosophy he adhered to with the Razorbacks.


"I would never change from being physical and being tough," Nutt said. "I still believe you have to run the ball and I think you have got to stop the run. But I’ve been studying hard the things that Baylor, Texas A&M, Auburn, Oregon (do) …


"I really think up-tempo is a tremendous advantage. You look at the defense and they are standing around with their hands on their hips."


Nutt and Malzahn, who was Arkansas’ offensive coordinator, had philosophical differences during the 2006 season. Malzahn wanted Arkansas to operate at a fast pace, while Nutt wanted the Hogs to slow down. The Razorbacks were successful in winning the SEC Western Division title, but Malzhan moved into a co-coordinator role at Tulsa and Nutt coached his final season with the program in 2007.


Nutt said despite the differences he and Malzahn "actually did get along" while at Arkansas. He said they still do, pointing to the fact both coaches sat down together when XM College Sports Radio visited Auburn during preseason camp.


"When Gus was here he had good players from Springdale and he had a very close relationship with them and naturally he wanted them to be successful," Nutt said. "But the guys we had in place were good players and they had experience. You had (Darren) McFadden, you had Felix Jones, Peyton Hillis and Marcus Monk and Casey Dick had a little more experience. We were rolling at that time."


Nutt said Malzahn’s current team deserves credit for its ability to run the football with success in the no-huddle system. Auburn led the nation in rushing last season and started 2014 with 302 rushing yards against the Razorbacks last Saturday.


But he said the Tigers are even more dangerous now because they’ve added playmakers on the perimeter. Auburn receivers Duke Williams, Melvin Ray and Sammie Coates presented problems for the Razorbacks in last Saturday’s loss.


"I always felt like we tried to stay current, but now more than ever, you see it," Nutt said about the benefits of hurry-up, no-huddle systems. "You see the defenses really struggling, because they’re having to tackle in space. I think that’s the biggest thing. They’re having to tackle good athletes out in space."


It’s no secret Arkansas’ current coach is not a proponent of up-tempo offense.


Instead of speeding up, Bielema wants the Razorbacks to control the clock and win games behind its strong ground game and defense. Nutt was asked Wednesday if it’s harder to have success with that style in today’s game and said there are still "a lot of ways to win." He said Arkansas showed it was capable at times against the Tigers.


"In the first half, if you look at last week’s first half, you’d say, there’s nothing wrong with that offense," Nutt said. "But you’ve got to finish. You’ve got to find a way to get the third and fourth quarters right."


Nutt’s last coaching stint came at Ole Miss, when he went 24-26 from 2008-11. He’s out of coaching for the third straight season, but Nutt — who is 135-96 in 19 season — said he’s hoping for another opportunity to lead a program.


If he gets it, Nutt’s offense may take on a different look than it did at Arkansas.


But Nutt said becoming an up-tempo believer should come as no surprise.


"In junior high school, I ran the Wishbone," Nutt said. "The game changes, and you’ve just got to stay up with it."


2. Amazing Experience: It’s safe to say Arkansas offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola enjoyed his first experience in a Southeastern Conference game at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.


"Coming from where I come from, you don’t see that," Tretola said. "You just talk about it and just hear about it, you know? Getting in there and the atmosphere and the people, it was nuts. Amazing, amazing first experience."


Tretola, who began his career at Nevada and then transferred to a junior college, came off the bench to split time with starter Luke Charpentier. Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman said Tretola’s grade — the lineman said it was a 74 percent – wasn’t as high as he expected. But Pittman said Tretola played pretty well.


"He is a big, physical guy," Pittman said. "He had a couple of deuce blocks where he walked the guy five or six yards down the field. Physically he is what you are looking for. We just have to do a little bit more work with him on his pass protection."


3. Self Esteem: Arkansas safety Rohan Gaines didn’t exactly have an opener to remember.


It started early, when the junior missed a tackle that led to Ray’s 49-yard touchdown reception on the first possession. One possession later, Gaines was penalized for pass interference on a deep ball. It led to another touchdown.


But Arkansas defensive backs coach Clay Jennings said Gaines — who finished with eight tackles — will be fine after the rough start.


"You know Rohan," Jennings said. "Rohan has very high self esteem. One thing about being a defensive back, you’ve got to have a short memory. I don’t have to beat him up as a coach because, shoot, the tape doesn’t lie."


4. Extra Points


• Quarterback Brandon Allen, who injured his right shoulder after landing on it last season, tested it on Arkansas’ opening drive at Auburn. Allen fell on his shoulder while scrambling on a third-and-7 play. Allen said it "held up fine" and had "no worries about that anymore." Of course, Allen admits his dive could use some work. He landed one yard short of the first-down marker and Arkansas had to punt.


• Receivers coach Michael Smith said new Arkansas punt returner D.J. Dean did well fielding punts at Auburn. But he said Dean’s decision-making needs some work after catching his first punt at Arkansas’ 4-yard line. "I have to do put him in more situations like that on the practice field," Smith said. "The one he caught on the 4-yard line, he backed up 15 yards to go get it. That’s just something he has to learn. He hasn’t’ been in that situation and I take full responsibility for that."


• Bielema said CB Tevin Mitchel will be sidelined for the second straight week because of a hamstring injury. Bielema said last week it would take two or three weeks for Mitchel to return, but also mentioned the possibility of redshirting the season if needed because of the injury. "There’s a redshirt year available to him if that ends up being the case," he said. "But we’re not ready to cross that bridge yet."


• Bielema said the arson investigation regarding Allen’s truck fire on Aug. 25 is ongoing. "I’ll let the cops figure that one out," Bielema said.


— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau