McFadden Ready To Bust Loose Like Tattoo Says

FAYETTEVILLE — The tattoo on Darren McFadden's right bicep is of a running back leaning forward with a football tucked safely in his arm.

McFadden insists the runner isn't him, just something the tattoo artist sketched up for him. He also had the phrase, "Busting Loose," added to his right arm.

"That's something I try to do every chance I get," McFadden said. "Just try to break loose."

So far this season, though, McFadden hasn't gotten as many chances as he'd like to do as his tattoo says.

The Arkansas sophomore broke off a career-long 72-yard touchdown run during his 184-yard rushing performance against Utah State in the second week of the season.

But he admits he still hasn't recovered fully from the serious toe injury he suffered in late July during an early morning fight outside a Little Rock nightclub.

"At this point, it's not 100 percent. I don't know if it will ever be 100 percent, again," McFadden said. "It's just something you get used to and you don't really even think about it."

Even at less than full strength, McFadden is still tough to slow down. He's one of the Southeastern Conference's top running backs, injured big toe or not.

"Well, he looked 100 percent to us, especially a couple of times coming down our sideline when he was outrunning some of our linebackers and then running over our (cornerbacks)," said Alabama coach Mike Shula, who watched McFadden rush for 112 yards and one touchdown in Arkansas' 24-23 double-overtime win on Sept. 23.

"He also looked 100 percent on his touchdown, where we had two of our fastest and best tacklers on defense and he outran one and ran the other one over for a touchdown."

Through four games, McFadden has carried the ball 73 times for 409 yards and three touchdowns. At that rate, he'll surpass his rushing output from last season when he set an Arkansas freshman record with 1,113 yards.

"He's starting to get back, (he's) starting to get into the groove now," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said.

McFadden ranks second in the SEC in rushing with an average of 102.2 yards per game, trailing only Auburn's Kenny Irons, who enters Saturday's showdown with Arkansas averaging 109.8 yards per game.

"I feel like it's extra motivation," McFadden said of facing Irons. "Because I know with me and him, we're probably thinking like whoever does better in that game that's who the better back is."

McFadden said he's never spoken with Irons, not even after the two running backs rushed for a combined 290 yards and two touchdowns in their only head-to-head meeting last October.

Auburn won 34-17, but McFadden offered further proof that he should be considered along with Irons as one of the SEC's top running backs.

Now, he's ready to just bust loose.

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