Is Alex Collins unhappy? That’s what position coach Joel Thomas was recently asked. Thomas said it would be news to him.
“That’s the first news that it’s been told to me,” Thomas told the Arkansas News Bureau. “You’ll have to ask Alex on that if that’s the case.”
Collins exploded onto the scene last year, rushing for 1,026 yards and four touchdowns, and he was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Year. He was electrifying in every sense of the word, especially when opponents knew the offense was one-dimensional.
I’ve always thought Collins was a cross between Trent Richardson and Maurice Jones-Drew, nearly the perfect combination. His speed and quickness are rare, and he has innate vision at the second level. He’s the total package.
In early February, Bret Bielema confirmed that Collins had been suspended for one week.
“Alex will be out this week, see how he handles this week and get ourselves moving forward,” Bielema said. “You’ll probably see that he is not going to be as active on Twitter and everything else as well. He’s been removed from all social media until further notice. He’s a tremendous young man that has to step up in certain areas to get where we want to be and I think he’ll do that.”
“We’re in an eight-week window of winter conditioning,” Bielema said in February. “Four weeks have gone by, and if you’re not moving forward you’re not helping us at all. We need to see guys make physical gains, strength gains and then definitely in the academic area. And if somebody is lacking in those three areas, it’s pretty easy for me to remove the football side of it until they figure it out, because that usually makes kids a little bit more accountable.”
Collins rejoined the team, and Bielema confirmed last month that he was playing well and ‘doing some very good things’ after the first week of spring practice.
“Alex continues to do some very, very good things,” Bielema said. “He’s very explosive and has some tremendous upside to him. We made a consistent effort of him trying to, on certain plays, hit it up in there no matter what he sees. Just kind of hit it and get our three yards, get our four yards and be happy.”
The Hogs returned from spring break this week, and Thomas confirmed that Collins was at practice, and that he had a good practice.
“He had a good practice,” Thomas told the Arkansas News Bureau. “You know, it is what it is. We have to take it all day by day and keep on feeding information. … People forget he’s been on campus nine months. And this is our time we get to execute our technique, where usually during the season it’s more of a scheme and a play-call deal to get him ready to play.”
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