[I'M REQUIRED TO SAY THIS ISN'T REAL BECAUSE IT ISN'T. PLEASE DON'T REQUEST MY PHONE LOGS. I DRUNK DIAL WAFFLEHOUSES.] With his name back in headlines and again linked to Ole Miss football, I thought it was the perfect time to catch up with former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt. We talked for nearly thirty minutes, and as always, Coach Nutt was colorful and enthusiastic. Whether he’s discussing the need for patience or breaking down his approach to strategizing, he’s as insightful and engaging as ever.
TwoYards: Good morning, coach. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me.
Houston Dale Nutt: Pleasure’s all mine, dos yardos. Always a pleasure. Always a pleasure.
TY: Obviously it’s been a few years since we’ve spoken, given your relative distance from Ole Miss and Oxford, but I thought it might be a good idea to catch up with you now.
HDN: Love to catch up. Told Jermiah Mastoli that one time. Said, "Son, you gotta catch up to the lamb before the tiger gets a splinter." Think he took my meaning. Sent him back out there and we only lost to Vandy by 14. Got close! Told the refs we oughta play another 20 minutes, see how things shook out. They disagreed. That’s their right! America!
TY: I guess I’d like to start by just asking you, in your own words, to break down the last few months for me.
HDN: Of course. Of course. Timeline’s an important thing. Need a timeline. Got to break it down. One day, another day. Two different days. Got to tie them together. Single day. Flat circle!
TY: Exactly, so could you start at the beginning?
HDN: Well, to get this whole thing going, I started with fresh top soil. Can’t be starting with old, hard caked dirt. No sir. You need that fresh, rich black soil. Worms, too. Snuck into my neighbor’s garden in the nightytime. Dug up some worms. Spent an hour there in his yard, digging. Put them in an old coffee can. I keep those, you see. Can’t throw them out. Never know when you’ll need a coffee can. Took them worms to my new soil. Pushed ‘em down in there one at a time. Wooooo! They was fast. Now, son, I can see from the look on your face you’re thinking: when‘s it gonna get good? When’s ol’ Houston gonna speak truth to power and let me in on all the machinations and plotterizing and whatnot. Well, friendo, it was about four months ago that it really started coming together.
TY: Good good. So let’s jump to four months ago. Describe what happened.
HDN: You could see the first sprigs starting to shoot up about then. Ain’t nothing pretty as that fresh green comin’ up outta all that brown. Watered it every day. Got to. Used to tell ol’ Dester McNusterbuster he was just a little sprout popping up. Gotta grow! Lickety split. Scooted around like a junebug on Thanksgiving!
TY: Coach, we’ve had this issue before when we’ve spoken. I’m not sure you and I are having the same conversation.
HDN: Course we are. Course we are. Silliest thing. Furthest from the truth. So you got to watch it every day. Gets bigger, grows, thicker. Then, woooooooo, then you see that first little one growing out the side. Yes, indeed, Yardybird. Yes, indeed. You want to pluck it right then, slice it up, but it ain’t time yet. Patience.
TY: Yes, I was hoping we could talk about patience. Everyone I’ve spoken to is in agreement that you’ve exhibited far more patience than would have been expected.
HDN: No surprise. Always been a patient man. Some folks mix a bloody mary, drink it right then. Not me. Trick is patience. Mix it up. Go mow the lawn. Have some watermelon. Make a football helmet out the rind. Get your concussion checked out. Clean up the blood. Boom, time you’re done with all that, bloody mary’s ready for you. Gave it a chance to aerate. Same thing with this deal we’re talking about. Showed a lot of patience. Took my time. Planned things out.
TY: Since you’re not willing to give a precise timeline of events, maybe you can walk me through that planning stage, at least. Could you do that, coach?
HDN: Absotively. The first step’s taking it off the vine. People think you need to put them in the fridgerator, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Furthest thing! You leave it there on the counter while you get everything else out. I like the thick cut, maple smoked bacon. Gives you more texture and flavor. Also, I know some folks is Miracle Whip fans, but you heard about this other brand, Duke’s? Best I ever had. The Barry Sanders of mayonnaise. So you get all that out. Start putting it together, got to slice real nice and thick. Juicy. Delicious.
TY: Are you talking about making a BLT?
HDN: Not just a BLT, six foot. The best daggum BLT you ever ate. Let me ask you this: you use iceberg or romaine? Trick question! You use a tortilla. Still works. Still got the "T" in "BLT." None of that green, though. Makes it cultural. We used to do Taco Tuesday at the ol’ Indoors Practicing Facility. You ain’t lived till you watched Jervan Snood’s daddy run a taco bar. Wore a fun hat. Let me borrow it one time. Told him, "You loan the moon a orbit, it’ll bite your eclipse where the sun don’t shine!"
TY: I don’t know why I’m even bothering, but are you seriously telling me that you use a tortilla instead of lettuce in a BLT?
HDN: Don’t act so hoity toity, Yardalingo. Don’t knock a thing you ain’t tried.
TY: Do you use the tortilla instead of bread? Are you saying you just make a wrap?
HDN: Don’t be silly. Only good BLT is layered like this here: bread, Duke’s mayonnaise, thick cut bacon, a tomato you grew yourself with the help of stolen neighborworms, three corn tortillas, two flour tortillas, a wheat tortilla, another layer of Duke’s mayonnaise, and another piece of bread.
HDN: Think I could get me a cookin’ show? Just me and Timmy Brando in a kitchen, makin’ sandwiches?
TY: At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything you do, coach.
HDN: Thanky do.
TY: I appreciate you taking the time, coach.
HDN: I’d offer you a tomato but last couple times I done that folks threw ‘em at me. Never again. Tomato ain’t for throwin’. Tomato’s for eatin’. Remember that. Words of wisdom from someone who’s reached the mountaintop.
TY: I have a feeling I won’t ever be able to forget the things you’ve said and done, coach.
HDN: A man needs a legacy like a dog needs bath, friend.
HOUSTON NUTT’S BLT:
- One (1) package thick cut, maple-smoked bacon
- Two (2) slices of bread
- Three (3) corn tortillas
- Two (2) flour tortillas
- One (1) wheat tortilla
- One (1) garden grown tomato
- Duke’s Mayonnaise
- Grow a tomato. OPTIONAL: Use worms stolen from neighbor’s garden in the dirt.
- Cook bacon. Houston prefers to microwave his bacon for five minutes, then put it in the broiler. He recommends saving bacon drippings in an old coffee can.
- Spread Duke’s Mayonnaise on both slices of bread.
- Slice tomato.
- Layer bacon, tomato slices, corn tortillas, flour tortillas, and wheat tortilla on bread.