There have been movies made about it, as well as songs, along with
books and the like. It’s just something about going home. The feeling
you get when you see those familiar faces you’ve spent times together
for all those years, trading stories and remembering all the times of
the past. Last Saturday night in Fayetteville, Ark. – one of the most
desolate places I’ve ever been, mind you – Houston Nutt was home.
By BRAD LOGAN
There have been movies made about it, as well as songs, along with books and the like. It’s just something about going home. The feeling you get when you see those familiar faces you’ve spent times together for all those years, trading stories and remembering all the times of the past. Last Saturday night in Fayetteville, Ark. – one of the most desolate places I’ve ever been, mind you – Houston Nutt was home.
For the record, he didn’t experience the normal homecoming. It wasn’t even remotely close to one as the Rebels held on for a 23-21 win over the Hogs.
A fan of the Razorbacks, donning a hat a picture could not do justice, felt the need to put Nutt’s return into perspective. I humbly obliged for numerous reasons. You have to envision anyone willing to purposely wear a pig nose is capable of anything. “If you marry and divorce 10-years later, then come back and throw your new girlfriend in your wife’s face, how the (heck) would you feel?” For someone with a red snout on his face, he made a great point.
You’ve heard the story. Nutt became the head coach at Mississippi after a bitter split with his former employer, the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Rebels gladly rolled out the red carpet for the Little Rock native. Goodness knows, they would have opened the pearly gates for anyone after the previous four years of turmoil in Oxford. After the Hogs placed the crown atop Bobby Petrino, all was good in the Ozark Mountains. That is, until Houston Nutt came home.
“I was all set to let him have it,” a Hog fan told me. “I watched him this year on TV, cussing him every breath and when I saw him with the Ole Miss shirt on in person, I was speechless. It was if someone had ripped my heart out. It cut me, I admit,” he added.
Not all the fan base share his sentiments. It clearly is a love-hate relationship, signaled by the numerous fans shouting expletives I didn’t know existed. While there will not be a statue erected in his honor any time soon, Houston Nutt is loved in the state of Arkansas. It was no more evident than the conclusion of the game. Numerous Razorback players waited in line to embrace the former coach. Class by the players. Even more class by the former coach as he graciously spoke to each one individually.
As I exited the stadium, I noticed a few Rebel fans in front of me talking to a lady Razorback fan. While wiping the tears from her eyes, she commented on how much she missed Nutt. As the Rebel fans walked away, one must wonder what was going through their minds. The chance of possibly playing in a bowl game for the first time since 2003? The chance of avenging a myriad of losses to teams in the SEC, starting with Auburn this week. The joy of escaping the persona as the laughingstock of the SEC.
For the lady Razorback fan, her thoughts were as clear as the sky on this fall evening in the hills. While the homecoming was anything but civil, the Rebel fans aren’t asking Nutt to call Oxford home. They only ask for the Rebels to gain respectability again. Beating the Razorbacks in Fayetteville clearly shows the objectives are much closer than many thought were possible.
You can email Brad Logan at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bradlogansports.blogspot.com