You couldn't get a coach to say that injured University of Arkansas sophomores Darren McFadden and Casey Dick will play Saturday night against visiting USC, but there is also no one saying they won't.
Whether it's gamesmanship or reality, Razorback coaches reported Tuesday that both star tailback McFadden and quarterback Dick were able to go through at least some portion of practice while fullback Peyton Hillis did not go while resting his hamstring.
In another development back-up kicker Dan Bailey left the team in a financial move more than anything else.
"We are starting to get a few more guys back, which has been good," UA head coach Houston Nutt said. "(Linebacker) Weston Dacus, (wideout) London Crawford practiced and we dressed out Casey Dick and Darren McFadden in full pads today. So that was a real positive. We keep going, keep trying to get better and keep polishing."
Dressed in a number six green jersey, McFadden was put through some work amid speculation on whether the All-SEC back could actually play on Saturday - something Nutt discussed after the closed workout.
"He (McFadden) did a few periods and he keeps progressing well," Nutt said. "He is doing better each day he comes out. (Trainer) Eric (Lison) and those guys have done a good job with him.
"He is still progressing," Nutt added. "I'd say he is probably still doubtful, but just keep going and keep bringing him and see what happens. He is jogging and running much better. I'd say still doubtful. I don't know what percentage."
Nutt said he obviously would be very careful about bringing back McFadden, who had toe surgery a week before preseason camp opened after a freshman season when he rushed for 1,113 yards and 11 TDs while being named the SEC's Freshman of the Year.
"I would have to get a total 100 percent okay from (UA head trainer) Dean (Weber) and the doctors and make sure you are not taking any unnecessary chances," Nutt said.
Dick was able to get through more than McFadden - who was not available to the media - per the coach and quarterback himself.
"That (Dick practicing) was really positive," Nutt said. "London Crawford ran well and Casey threw all practice without any problems."
Dick said he was pleased with his progress and would be ready to finish Saturday's game if he was called upon to do so.
"It didn't bother me hardly at all and I came out here and threw quite a few balls with different guys and different routes at different yards," Dick said. "I am just going out here and preparing myself for and play whatever (role) they need me to...I did everything they asked me to do."
Dick said he is feeling much better than he did in early August.
"It has gotten a lot better and a lot stronger," Dick said. "I ‘ve just gotten more endurance overall and just taken it day-by-day and just come out here and get better and just get it back to where I were."
Could he finish Saturday if needed?
"Most definitely," Dick said. "If that is the role they need me to do, that is what I can come out here and do."
Nutt said Robert Johnson remains the starting quarterback with true freshman Mitch Mustain his backup and Dick - who went into the fall number one before his back injury kept him from practicing.
"We are going to keep it just the way it is right now," Nutt said.
Hillis was the one player expected to play on Saturday that did not go through Tuesday's workout.
"We held him back today because of his hamstring, but I don't look for it to be serious," Nutt said.
The Razorbacks did lose Bailey, the true freshman kicker from Oklahoma who was here on an academic scholarship and came up just short in his bid to the first-team.
"Dan Bailey left the team," Nutt said. "He had a full academic scholarship and once he found out if he did play he would lose that academic scholarship, he didn't want to take that chance. He is going to go to another school. I wish him well. He is a good kicker and good young man."
Jeremy Davis becomes the back-up kicker now as well as the back-up punter.
"We came out here in full pads and this will be the last time we are in full pads until we play," Nutt said. "Tomorrow we will come back in shoulder pads and thigh pads."
Nutt said he doesn't see any problems with communication on Saturday night as a trio of new staff members are worked into the mix.
"That's why you rehearse and why we did it Saturday night," Nutt said. "All that is ready to go."
He said he is sure of what needs to happen on Saturday night.
"I think the biggest thing is just early on you don't want to give up anything cheap, no cheap points in the special teams or any situation," Nutt said. "You want to make them earn everything."
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