Hewitt A Question Mark For Friday

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas strongside linebacker Matt Hewitt underwent an MRI exam on his sprained knee on Sunday, and coach Houston Nutt hoped to learn more about the junior's condition by today.

Hewitt was injured during the first half of the Hogs' 28-14 win at Mississippi State, and he never returned to the game. Senior Desmond Sims replaced Hewitt in the lineup. "He was a little better than we thought today," Nutt said Sunday. Fullback Peyton Hillis (thigh contusion), meanwhile, did not make the trip to Mississippi State, but he could return for the LSU game on Friday. "Boy, I hope so," Nutt said. "You could tell we missed his quickness and ability to (block) the linebacker." Hogs offensive guard Stephen Parker (sprained knee) played about 15 snaps Saturday and should start against LSU, Nutt said. Although Nutt said MSU's defensive front whipped Arkansas early in the game, "I don't consider it an ugly win. To me, it was a quality win." Next up is LSU, which leads the SEC in scoring, scoring defense, pass defense, total offense and total defense. "LSU is probably the most physical, most talented team in the SEC," Nutt said. McFadden Magic Thanks in part to his 92-yard kickoff return against Mississippi State, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden now ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in all-purpose yardage with 149.5 yards per game. McFadden's return was the 15th longest in UA history. He would be leading the SEC in kickoff returns with his 28.2-yard average, except that his eight returns aren't enough to qualify him. Fellow Arkansas sophomore Felix Jones ranks second in the SEC with 25.7 yards per kickoff return, and third in all-purpose yardage with 116.7 yards per game. "Darren hit a very, very narrow lane on Saturday," Hogs coach Houston Nutt said. "He's faster than you think." Bulldogs kickoff man Adam Carlson appeared to have a good angle on McFadden, but he couldn't catch up to McFadden down the sideline. McFadden is also 3-of-3 passing this season, but Nutt wasn't necessarily thrilled with McFadden's 16-yard completion to Marcus Monk among four Bulldogs on Saturday. "That ball was end over end," Nutt joked. "If Marcus doesn't come back for it, it's intercepted. Darren should have run." McFadden, on whose behalf postcards have been mailed by the UA to Heisman Trophy voters and other media members, ranks second in the SEC in scoring with 7.8 points per game. He leads in rushing with 118.5 yards per game. More Stats Nutt credited the artful punting of Jacob Skinner with continuing to pin teams deep in their own territory each week. Skinner ranks fourth in the SEC in punting with a 38.5 average. ... Cornerback Chris Houston's 87-yard interception return on Saturday tied for the 10th longest in UA history. ... Arkansas has recovered just two of 18 fumbles by opponents this season. Just Rumors Nutt was asked Sunday about rumors that offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn might be attracted by offers from other schools. "First of all, he would come tell me if there was anything to that," Nutt said. "I heard that (Notre Dame coach) Charlie Weis was in here during our off week (to talk with Malzahn). Nothing could be further from the truth. "Just rumors. Gus is very happy, doing a great job, excited about his first year of collegiate coaching. There would be no reason to look." Malzahn said last week, "Everywhere I've been, God has put me in the right place at the right time, and this place is no different." Nutt said his toughest task is to decide which UA assistants to nominate for the Broyles Award, which recognizes the top assistant coach in the country each year. He mentioned all nine of his assistants: Malzahn, quarterbacks coach Alex Wood, defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, tight ends/special teams coach James Shibest, offensive line coach Mike Markuson, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, secondary coach Louis Campbell, cornerbacks Bobby Allen and running backs coach Danny Nutt. "Danny is an underrated coach because of his last name," Houston Nutt said. "In-state recruiting is the toughest job, because if you don't get them, you're a goat." Nutt said Herring, given the number of injuries Arkansas' defense has had, has done "his best job of coaching since I've known him." The UA defenders have taken on Herring's passion, Nutt said.

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