Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt has no doubts that one of former assistant coaches is ready for the jump to the NFL.
Nutt should know, as he hired Tracy Rocker to coach defensive line both when he was at the University of Arkansas and when he moved to his current post at the University of Mississippi.
Rocker left Ole Miss and was defensive line coach for national champion Auburn before replacing Jim Washburn with the Tennessee Titans.
“I really do think he's ready for the jump,” Nutt said. “I think football is football. I know there's some things you have to learn; there's a learning curve in the NFL, but it won't take him long, because No. 1, he's a good fundamentalist. He's a very good teacher of fundamentals; he's gonna demand effort and those are two things that don't go anywhere, whether you're playing pee wee ball or in the NFL.”
Nutt was in Nashville this week to see his brother Dickey's team coach Southeast Missouri in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Nutt said Rocker will bring credibility because of the marks he made both as a player and a coach. He won the Outland Trophy as a player at Auburn, and played for the Washington Redskins in the NFL before commencing his coaching career.
“In Tracy Rocker, they're getting an excellent football coach. First, he just has instant credibility because he's played on every level,” Nutt said. “He played in high school, college and pro, and so the guys respect that. He won't miss a beat. He's been coaching college for a long time. He coaches very, very hard. He demands a great deal and teaches great technique. He's always been outstanding everywhere he's been.”
Likewise, Nutt also has ties to another Titans assistant – quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains, who was a backup quarterback and holder on Nutt's Razorback teams.
“Dowell was a player's coach from the word go. He was on the field as a player, but he was actually a coach. He took care of Matt Jones, coached him in the meeting room, coached him off the field. He was just like a coach,” Nutt said. “We knew he was going to be a great football coach, but I'm proud of how far he has just taken off and I appreciate Coach (Jeff) Fisher giving him and opportunity, and now Coach (Mike) Munchak is giving him an opportunity to continue on. He's excellent with the players, he's very, very knowledgeable and just an excellent person.”