Hillis Would Like To Clear McFadden

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas' trainers and doctors still haven't cleared running back Darren McFadden to play against Southern California on Saturday, but fullback Peyton Hillis is ready to clear his teammate.

"He looks 100 percent to me," Hillis said Wednesday. "He heals like an animal. He was supposed to be out seven weeks (with a toe injury) and he's back in three."

Hillis, sidelined recently by a tight left hamstring, returned to practice Wednesday as the Razorbacks worked 75 minutes in shoulder pads and shorts.

"It was just fatigue in my legs," Hillis said. "I should be 100 percent by Saturday."

Hillis caught all the punts in team punt return work Wednesday, as alternate returner Cedric Washington sat out with tightness in his back.

Coach Houston Nutt said the Hogs' intensity picked up on Wednesday. He said Hillis "looked good."

Hillis, rated the nation's top junior fullback by analyst Mel Kiper, said, "I can't tell you what the outcome will be Saturday, but I can tell you we'll definitely give them a challenge. Now that McFadden hopefully is back, we're encouraged. He wants to play and in my heart I believe he'll play."

Nutt, however, said the decision about McFadden could go right up until game time.

"We don't want to risk getting him reinjured and then not having him later on," Nutt said. "He hasn't really cut or taken contact in practice."


Nutt said USC, which has won 45 of its last 47 games, would provide a stiff test for Arkansas' defense.

"They know how to protect and be physical," he said. "They have tall gazelles at receiver, and their (freshman) running backs were All-Americans in high school."

Junior Chauncey Washington is listed as USC's starter at tailback, but he's had hamstring troubles in practice. If the Trojans start freshman C.J. Gable, freshman Emmanuel Moody or freshman Stafon Johnson at tailback, it will mark the first time a freshman has started on offense in USC history.

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