Horton Returns, But His Future Uncertain

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas running backs coach Tim Horton returned to the practice field Monday morning.

But it remains to be seen whether he'll still be with the Razorbacks next season.

Horton missed several practices late last week because he was traveling around the state, introducing newly hired Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino to those recruits who have already committed to the Hogs.

"I've been very impressed. He's a pro, he's a professional," Horton said of Petrino. "He's going to be a good fit for the Razorbacks, and I think everything is going to work out real well for Arkansas in this transition.

"It's been a good experience with him the last few days."

During a hectic three-day stretch, Horton said he and Petrino managed to visit the 19 recruits who had committed to Arkansas before Sunday. Horton said the reception from recruits was "very positive."

Horton's future, however, remains uncertain.

Petrino has hired one assistant to his coaching staff so far — offensive coordinator and younger brother Paul Petrino. It's unclear whether Horton will join Petrino's staff or leave for another job.

Horton isn't among the five Arkansas assistants who have agreed to follow former coach Houston Nutt to Ole Miss. Horton said Monday that he has spoken with Petrino about possibly joining his staff.

"You probably need to talk to him about that, though," Horton said. "Whatever announcements need to be made probably need to go through him as far as the staff is concerned."



Hewitt Back

Starting strong safety Matt Hewitt returned Monday after missing the previous three practices because of a pink eye infection that has spread throughout Arkansas' locker room.

"It was the first time I had pink eye. I mean, I'm a healthy person. ... It was frustrating," Hewitt said. "It wasn't really all that itchy, it was just real puffy and I couldn't really see."

Hewitt is among a handful of players who have come down with pink eye over the past week, including cornerback Matterral Richardson and linebacker Chip Gregory.

Defensive end Antwain Robinson also returned Monday after being told to stay away from practice so he couldn't infect other players.

"We all had to stay away from practice," Hewitt said. "Everyone was trying to stay away from me."

Unable to practice, Hewitt said he tried to get as much rest as much as possible. He admitted his body is "pretty banged up" after a 12-game regular season, so the time away helped.

Meanwhile, fullback Peyton Hillis participated in practice after being held out Saturday because of tendinitis.



Woods To Have Surgery

Arkansas free safety Kevin Woods said Monday that he'll have surgery on his injured left shoulder on Jan. 3, two days after the Razorbacks face No. 7 Missouri in the Cotton Bowl.

Woods said he believes the surgery is extensive, not minor.

"I think they have to do a lot to it," Woods said.

Woods has continued to practice despite experiencing severe pain in his left shoulder, which occasionally pops out of its socket. As he has throughout the season, the senior is expected to play through the pain in the bowl game.

"Once I have my surgery, it will recover quicker," Woods said.



Coach Talk

Petrino's search to fill his coaching staff went through Oxford, Miss., last week.

Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt told the Mississippi media that recently hired defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix considered joining Petrino and the Razorbacks.

Nutt said one draw for Nix was the chance to work with his brother, Derrick Nix, who was on Petrino's staff with the Atlanta Falcons.

"I think it was a real battle any time there is family involved," Nutt said. "When he has a brother that coaches for Coach Petrino and you have a chance to coach with your brother, I understand that and that is a real pull, but Tyrone was very adamant about being here at Ole Miss.

"He's spent a lot of time in the state of Mississippi and he was happy to get back and he's excited."

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