You remember Mitch Mustain? Think hard. He was the quarterback at Arkansas in 2006, when they played in the SEC Championship Game and Houston Nutt's hold on power began to unravel in a very real way. Now you remember?
Well, apparently a series of kumbayas between Gus Malzahn, the offensive coordinator for that topsy-turvy year, and Houston Nutt has proven to be too much for Mitch Mustain's mother, Beck Campbell. She would much rather they engage in scorched-earth warfare, and if they won't, she's more than happy to do it for them, via the Going Deep blog.
Campbell said she expects Nutt to paint a rosy picture because, "He is a bad man, a bad person."
She says the feelings of betrayal run deeper with Malzahn because he was a trusted family friend. Malzahn has had opportunities to divulge his side of the story but has stayed tight-lipped. "He told me he was going to take care of Mitchell and not let him get hurt. I trusted [Malzahn]," she says. "It would be like if I took someone’s kids to the beach, and they got sucked in a riptide, and I just walked away, didn’t call the paramedics or anything. Just left."
Mustain and his family ultimately decided not to sue the university over the messy end of the Malzahn Era, which is something that the popcorn vendors of America must truly regret. But let's not totally dismiss this as another humorous reminder of the time when Arkansas football was even more of a sideshow than it is now.
"My son lives every day with the ramifications of what happened that season because of [Nutt and Malzahn]," Campbell says. "Do you think this is where he would really wants to be. Somewhere in the back of my mind I wonder if he could be doing what he loves, his passion."
While the answer might very well still be "no," it's not an unfair question. Was Mustain duped into thinking that the offense would be the offense he ran in high school, and was that really just a side-effect of Malzahn being duped so that he would take the offensive coordinator position at Arkansas and bring some highly-rated players along with him? With Malzahn and Nutt making nice -- and neither of them gets any personal traction out of refusing to -- we might never know the answer. And Mustain is probably not blameless in the whole thing. But he is collateral damage of the war between Malzahn and Nutt, and that's undeniably tragic.