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If RB Alex Collins Is Unhappy, Jonathan Williams Can Carry the Load for Arkansas

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If RB Alex Collins Is Unhappy, Jonathan Williams Can Carry the Load for Arkansas
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Arkansas RB Jonathan Williams

It's been a relatively quiet spring in the SEC this season, but that doesn't mean all has been quiet on the rumor front.

According to Robbie Neiswanger of the Arkansas News Bureau, there were rumblings over Arkansas' spring break that star Razorback running back Alex Collins was unhappy with his place within the program.

When Neiswanger asked if Collins had mentioned transferring, running backs coach Joel Thomas was caught off guard by the rumors.

Rogelio V. Solis
Arkansas RB Alex Collins

"That’s the first news that it’s been told to me,” Thomas said. “You’ll have to ask Alex on that if that’s the case.”

So far, Collins hasn't offered any public comment on this specific subject, but he has posted "WPS" (short for "woo pig, sooie") several times this week on his personal Twitter account.

WholeHogSports.com reported that he was suspended for one week during offseason conditioning in February, during which time he was also removed from social media.

It's never a good thing if your star running back who rushed for 1,026 yards as a true freshman in a woefully one-dimensional offense is debating his future. But if he is unhappy and either stays in head coach Bret Bielema's doghouse or moves on, Arkansas' running game will still be fine.

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Arkansas RB Jonathan Williams

The primary reason is Jonathan Williams.

The rising junior running back had 150 carries for 900 yards and four touchdowns last season in the very same one-dimensional offense. At 6'0", 223 pounds, he's fully capable of taking the pounding between the tackles and has the juice to run away from opposing defenses when he gets out in space.

He can handle the load if given the opportunity.

Bret Bielema's 1,000-yard Rushers as a Head Coach
Year Player Team Rushing Yds. TDs
2006 P.J. Hill Wisconsin 1,569 15
2007 P.J. Hill Wisconsin 1,212 14
2008 P.J. Hill Wisconsin 1,161 13
2009 John Clay Wisconsin 1,517 18
2010 James White Wisconsin 1,052 14
2010 John Clay Wisconsin 1,012 14
2011 Montee Ball Wisconsin 1,923 33
2012 Montee Ball Wisconsin 1,830 22
2013 Alex Collins Arkansas 1,026 4

Sports-Reference.com

Bielema's track record also bodes well for Arkansas' running game, regardless of who's toting the rock.

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In his eight years as a head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas, nine running backs have gone north of 1,000 yards for the season. Those offenses typically employed a run-first, run-second and run-third scheme, although there was a bit more diversity at Wisconsin than the Hogs showed last season.

Collins is a great running back in a great system for running backs. Williams is a very good running back in a great system for running backs. Either way, the system won't change.

If there's any truth to the rumors that Neiswanger referenced, it'd be more of a public relations hit than anything else. After all, it's not a good thing if the reigning Associated Press SEC Freshman of the Year is unhappy. 

On the field, though, fielding a competent running game is the last of Bielema's worries.

Williams' ability to shoulder the load, coupled with Bielema's resume that's loaded with 1,000-yard rushers, is the least of Arkansas' worries.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All stats are courtesy of Sports-Reference.com. 


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