Smith's Fumbled Punt Bother Nutt

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Houston Nutt had hoped that the special-team problems that plagued the Razorbacks last season were in the past.

But they resurfaced Saturday night in a 46-26 win over Troy University in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Sophomore Michael Smith, who had been named one of Arkansas' primary punt returners earlier this month, had a difficult time holding onto the football.

Smith fumbled two punts in the third quarter, and his refusal to call for a fair catch on several other punts caused him to take some big hits.

"I want to get that situated because you can't have that," Nutt said Sunday. "We've been too good in camp, that's what's frustrating. Boy, we've had a great camp of catching every ball, and that's what's frustrating."

As a result, Nutt said fullback Peyton Hillis will get some work over the next two weeks at punt returner. Hillis returned punts last season before he suffered a season-ending deep thigh bruise.

Hillis wasn't necessarily explosive on special teams, averaging just 11.5 yards on eight punt returns last season. But he could be trusted to catch the football.

Nutt, meanwhile, said Smith will continue practicing at punt returner. But the backup running back must show much improvement if he hopes to keep the job.

"We're not just going to disregard him. We're not going to just say, ‘Hey, you're done,'" Nutt said. "But he's got to have two good weeks right here, and we're going to have Peyton in there (to) work it, as well."

Pulling McFadden

When Arkansas pulled out to a big second-half lead against Troy, the question quickly came up: How soon will Nutt pull star running back Darren McFadden?

Nutt said he wants to do everything he can to help McFadden's Heisman Trophy chances, but not at the expense of getting the junior injured.

McFadden, who rushed for 151 yards and one touchdown, didn't have another carry after Arkansas' first series of the fourth quarter. He finished with 24 carries.

"We're going to do everything we can to let him have the best chance ever to win the Heisman, there is no question about that," Nutt said. "But we don't go into the ball game saying, ‘We're going to win the Heisman today.'

"... He's not going to win or lose the Heisman if he doesn't have 100 yards against Troy or whoever."

Off Week

The Razorbacks will not return to action until Sept. 15 when they play at Alabama.

In the meantime, Nutt said he plans to use the open week to work on correcting the problems that showed up in Saturday's season opener.

"I'm glad it's at this time, I really am," Nutt said of the open week. "I think we can really take this film (of the first game) and just scrutinize, analyze, go through every part of it, dissect it and really get better and correct some things."

Arkansas was expected to practice Sunday.

Injury Update

Nutt didn't have any new injuries to report other than backup free safety Kevin Woods possibly suffering a slight hamstring pull. Wide receiver London Crawford also suffered a minor injury, possibly the same as Woods.

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