Tuesday Grid Update, 11/21

Offensive guard Stephen Parker returned to practice and expects to be close to full speed when Arkansas plays host to LSU on Friday in Little Rock.

Offensive guard Stephen Parker and linebacker Matt Hewitt both practiced Tuesday, but fullback Peyton Hillis did not as the Hogs went inside Reynolds Razorback Stadium to take advantage of the lights.

"Parker will play," head coach Houston Nutt said. "He's getting better and better.

"Hewitt, I wasn't sure about, but he did quit a bit today. I think he'll play, too. I'm just not sure how far he can go Friday."

Parker sustained a knee sprain three weeks ago and aggravatd it again two weeks ago. He played around 15 plays against Mississippi State and Nutt said he was missed.

"He's a key member of our offensive line," Nutt said. "We missed his physical presence. We'll be glad to have him back."

Hewitt sustained a knee sprain against MSU.

Nutt wasn't as optimistic about Hillis. The junior fullback who is a key blocker and key receiver did not practice Tuesday. He missed last week's game with a bruised thigh.

"We really missed him last week, as you could see," Nutt said. "I just don't know about him right now. I know he's going to try to play, but it's hard to tell right now what he will be able to do. He wants to play and he's in the training room trying to make it back. We'll have to wait and see."

Nutt said the Hogs low offensive production against Mississippi State has lit a fire under his team this week in practice.

"We had a very good practice today, very good intensity, very good focus and concentration," Nutt said. "They didn't like the way they played last week and know they can do better. They worked very hard today.

"We know we are facing a very good team, a very good defense this week. But our offensive players know they can do better than we did last week. They came to work today.

"I don't know if we are going to have all of these guys back this week. And, not having Parker and Hillis last week was big, but I know our players feel they can do better."

Parker thinks he'll be fine for the Tigers.

"This is a big game for me," he said. "I'm from Louisiana and I missed this game last year. I wantd to be there, but I couldn't. I'm going to play this time and I'm getting better every day.

"I still have a lot of friends in that state. I want to put on a show for them. This is big for me. It's big for our team. I can't miss this game this time."

Quarterback Casey Dick likes the way the Hogs practiced.

"We had a good day," Dick said. "Our guys worked hard today and practiced well. It's good to have Parker back. He's a big part of our offensive line. We'll be glad to have him and it will be good if we can get Peyton back, too."

Nutt said after practice that he had nominated Reggie Herring, the Hogs' defensive coordinator, for the Broyles Award, given each year to the nation's top assistant coach.

The Arkansas coach said the second-year defensive coordinator has given the Hogs a big boost on that side of the ball since arriving at Arkansas. He mentioned improved play, improved work ethic and toughness as things Herring has brought to the UA staff.

"We had several deserving assistant coaches on this staff this year," Nutt said. "I think you could talk about any number of assistant coaches as being deserving. Gus Malzahn, Mike Markuson, Danny Nutt and James Shibest have all made great contributions this year. Gus, Mike and Danny have done a great job on offense and James has helped our special teams."

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