Nutt: Razorbacks will move on


Published: Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt said Monday that the Razorbacks will begin moving on after the shocking news that star running back Darren McFadden had injured a toe during a fight outside a night club during the weekend.
"The one thing that I think all the fans know is that it's not a one-man team," Nutt said.
McFadden, the 2005 SEC freshman of the year, had surgery Saturday morning for a dislocated toe - after a police report says he was involved in a fight outside a Little Rock club. The Razorbacks have said McFadden is doubtful for the team's season opener against Southern California on Sept. 2.
Nutt said he heard about the injury via a text message he received from the running back at 4:45 a.m. Saturday. "I thought it was a prank. I was hoping it was a prank," Nutt said.
Nutt said running backs Felix Jones aand Peyton Hillis will have a chance to step up in McFadden's absence, and he wouldn't speculate on when McFadden might return.
"We want him to heal up and do exactly what the doctors tell him to do and hope he learned a tremendous lesson," Nutt said.
Players report for preseason camp Thursday and practice starts Saturday. Arkansas trainer Dean Weber has said McFadden will not practice for several weeks.
McFadden was named first-team all-SEC last year after rushing for 1,113 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was the seventh freshman in Southeastern Conference history to run for 1,000 yards or more.
This year, McFadden was expected to be a major part of the offense under new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. With McFadden out, the Razorbacks can turn to Jones, who rushed for 626 yards last year as a freshman, and Peyton Hillis, who had 315 yards.
ichael Smith, a 5-foot-7 redshirt freshman, will also compete for carries.
The club where McFadden was found was shut down in December of 2004 when a judge ordered it closed. Two people were killed there in 2004, and police responded to over 30 crimes or other incidents at the club that year.
It was allowed to open again the following January after the owner promised to increase security and provide additional parking.
n GEORGIA: Bulldogs coach Mark Richt signed his eight-year, $16 million contract Monday, six months after the agreement was reached.
"It was just a matter of having lawyers sort through it," Richt said Monday before speaking to the Greater Atlanta Bulldog Club.
"I'm excited about it and I hope Georgia is excited about it," Richt said. "It shows I'm serious about being here a long time and it shows Georgia is serious about me and my staff being here for a long time."
The contract boosts Richt's annual salary from $1.5 million to $2 million, though Georgia athletic director Damon Evans said Monday $300,000 each year is a longevity bonus Richt will receive in a lump sum of $2.4 million at the end of the deal. Evans said Richt can earn up to $400,000 in bonuses, including incentives for high graduation rates and for championship seasons.
The contract extends through the 2013 season and places Richt among the highest paid coaches in the Southeastern Conference.
"It's no different than what I said my first day at Georgia, my goal is to be at Georgia as long as they will have me," Richt said.
Richt's raise comes after Georgia won the 2005 SEC championship, the school's second title in four seasons. Before Richt, Georgia had not won an SEC title since 1982.
"It's good to know that it is done and we can focus on football," Evans said of the contract. "It means a lot to know that he's going to be here for a while. This allows him to move on to the football season and be focused on that."
Richt is 52-13 in five years at Georgia. Georgia was ranked No. 10 with a 10-3 record in the final Associated Press poll for the 2005 season. It has had four straight top 10 finishes under Richt, winning 10 or more games each of those seasons.
Georgia players will report Friday and have their first practice Saturday.
Richt told fans senior Joe Tereshinski will open practice as the No. 1 quarterback.
"He's going to be tough to beat out," Richt said.
The Bulldogs will be without receiver Sean Bailey, who is recovering from a knee injury.
Richt also told fans his wife, Katharyn, is recovering and doing well. Katharyn Richt had a hysterectomy in April following a diagnosis for cervical cancer.
Richt earlier said the pathology report showed the cancer had been diagnosed early and had not spread. He told the crowd she would be ready for her normal game-day duty as the top watergirl on the Georgia sideline.
"My wife's situation kind of put things on the back burner," Richt said, referring to his contract. "It made it less important than it was before."
n ALABAMA: Crimson Tide linebacker Juwan Simpson said he passed drug tests both before and "right after" his arrest for marijuana possession and other charges.
"And I'll continue to pass them, no question about it," said Simpson, adding that he has never been a drug user.
Simpson has apparently put his legal troubles behind him. A charge for possessing a stolen handgun was dismissed for lack of evidence and he agreed to enter a court-ordered drug treatment program to resolve the possession charge.
Now, the senior - Alabama's only returning starter at linebacker - is trying to focus on football again.
He was stopped by Bessemer police on May 20 for driving erratically and arrested for possessing a stolen handgun, carrying a handgun without a license and possession of marijuana.
Simpson pleaded guilty last week to the misdemeanor charge of carrying a handgun without a license, agreeing to pay $300 in fines and court costs.
Simpson is an academic All-Southeastern Conference pick who has already received a degree in financial planning. He is pursuing a second degree in criminal justice. Crimson Tide coaches gave him the Derrick Thomas Community Award after spring practices, before his troubles started.
Simpson didn't go into details about what happened the night he was arrested.
"Pretty much I can tell you what everyone already knows," he said in an interview with The Tuscaloosa News.
Simpson denied using marijuana, and said he didn't know where in his truck police found the drugs.
"The thing that I feel I was completely wrong about was not having the pistol license," he said. "I wasn't doing drugs, I wasn't worried about that issue. What really concerned me was that now this is going to get out and everybody's going to think that I'm the bad guy. That's not me at all, that's really not my style."
He said coach Mike Shula hasn't told him whether he will face a suspension during the season.
"Whatever decision he makes, Ill be happy with it because I was the one to put myself in this situation," Simpson said.

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