by Max Brantley
We'd been hearing bits and pieces about a book coming on Springdale High's big championship football season last year. The talk is all about some derogatory remarks quarterback phenom Mitch Mustain (pictured in Springdale days) made about Houston Nutt and the recruiting hustle that left Mustain at Arkansas with ill will toward Notre Dame. Harry King has some of the juicy details from Morning News sportswriter Kurt Voigt's book. Unfortunately, it doesn't address some other simmering Razorback Nation gossip -- recruiting of Nutt by other colleges and the mystery about Peyton Hillis. A taste from King's column:
Still, some will read Mustain's words and claim his demotion from starter to backup is the price he paid. Conveniently, they will overlook his shortcomings in the weeks leading up to an early interception vs. South Carolina. Besides, it's hard to believe that a head football coach at a major university would start a player for several weeks and then decide to invoke the grudge rule.
Mustain was at Voigt's home on that Sunday night after Arkansas' 2005 victory at Ole Miss when a still picture of Nutt appeared on the TV screen. He heard Barrett ask Nutt if Casey Dick had checked into a play that resulted in a touchdown pass and he heard Nutt respond, "That was a called play, and I called it, Chuck."
After more back and forth between coach and announcer, Mustain stood up, pointed at the television, and said, "Oh my God, did you hear that? Old 'H' has lost it. He has absolutely lost it. How can they let him get away with that? They ought to fire him on the spot. Of course, they'd have a better chance of getting me if they did."
A few weeks later, Mustain backed out on Arkansas and kept silent about his plan to attend Notre Dame, waiting on a promised scholarship.