Trainers Try "One More Thing" For Hillis

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas fullback Peyton Hillis missed Thursday's practice, and his chances of playing in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1 appear to be getting slimmer.

Hillis has missed the last three games because of a deep thigh bruise, and the injury hasn't gotten much better with treatment and rest.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said athletic trainer Dean Weber was planning to try "one more thing" on Wednesday to reduce the problem in Hillis' thigh. Nutt said he didn't know what type of treatment Weber had in mind.

But Nutt acknowledged that if the latest treatment doesn't work, Hillis will likely be unable to face No. 6 Wisconsin on New Year's Day in Orlando.

Hillis tried to practice Wednesday night, but the Conway native could only go through around six or seven individual drills until the thigh starting causing him problems.

Nutt said the junior has a calcium buildup in his thigh muscle that is causing the fullback to have limited range of motion.

"He tried extremely hard (Wednesday night)," Nutt said. "(The trainers) have got one more thing they're going to try, but he has a real severe knot in his thigh and just cannot get it out.

"He's frustrated about it, and he wants to be out here."



Sims Earns Start At LB

Senior Desmond Sims will start at strongside linebacker over junior Matt Hewitt in the Capital One Bowl, Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said Thursday.

Herring said the decision had nothing to with the fact that Sims would be playing in his final game. Herring also added that he was not down on Hewitt, who has been a step slower recently because of an injured knee.

"They're both going to play," Herring said. "But because of the physicality of (Wisconsin's) offense, I've got to get the most physical linebackers in the lineup and that's Desmond Sims, (senior Sam Olajubutu) and (junior Weston) Dacus."

Hewitt tweaked his knee Thursday when he got it bent back during a pileup in practice, Herring said. But Hewitt returned and finished practice.



Pardon The Distraction

Everyone seems to have an opinion on wide receiver Damian Williams' decision to transfer and last week's meeting between several parents and Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles.

In fact, the issue was discussed during Thursday's episode of ESPN's Pardon The Interruption.

"I understand why the parents are upset. I understand why the players are upset," co-host Tony Kornheiser said. "They are true freshmen; you transfer now as if it were your redshirt year. You get three more years somewhere else."

Co-host Michael Wilbon said he understands both sides, especially considering that the freshmen won't get as many touches on offense with Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden in the backfield.

"If I went to Northwestern to major in journalism and they cut the journalism department out, I'm not staying to major in biology," Wilbon said. "I got to go."

The only problem with their arguments? Both Kornheiser and Wilbon kept referring to Arkansas' record as 10-2, instead of 10-3.



FRESH FISH

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said sophomore Reggie Fish has handled himself well since muffing a punt that led to a critical touchdown late in a 38-28 loss to No. 2 Florida in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

Nutt admits he's tried to keep tabs on how Fish has responded in the two weeks since his fumbled punt. The miscue allowed the Gators to take a 24-21 lead after the Razorbacks had pulled ahead on a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown by defensive end Antwain Robinson.

"He's bounced back by going to work. I love the way he faced all you (reporters) after the game, and I've been keeping my eye on him," Nutt said of Fish. "No one has been hurt more than Reggie, and boy, he's come out here and faced the music."



MORE HONORS

Arkansas' players and coaches have earned their share of accolades since winning a surprising 10 games in the regular season and playing in the SEC Championship Game. And more honors keep coming.

Former Springdale High coach Gus Malzahn was named Thursday as the national offensive coordinator of the year by Rivals.com. In his first season at Arkansas, Malzahn implemented some trick plays and brought a sense of unpredictability to the offense.

Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, who has already been named the Doak Walker Award winner and a Heisman Trophy finalist, was named this week to the 2006 Sporting News All-America team. He was joined by senior offensive guard Stephen Parker, who has helped open holes for McFadden this season.

Meanwhile, McFadden, wide receiver Robert Johnson and coach Houston Nutt received honors from the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Thursday.

Johnson, who started the season opener at quarterback, was named as the inaugural recipient of the Paul Eels Award, given to the Arkansas player who has shown perseverance, determination, courage and resolved.

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