The Arkansas Razorbacks are looking to bounce back in 2013 after a disastrous 2012 campaign that saw just about everything go wrong. The program is hoping to turn things back around quickly under new head coach Bret Bielema. One of the biggest benefactors to the coaching change, and the key to a successful 2013 campaign, will be running back Jonathan Williams.
Williams was one of the top running back recruits when he was signed out of high school by former coach Bobby Petrino. He saw quite a bit of playing time as a freshmen despite a crowded Arkansas backfield and showed flashes of real playmaking ability. He carried the ball 45 times for 231 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per attempt.
Now, Williams gets the benefit of playing under Bielema, who has a reputation for turning running backs into stars, and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney whose pro-style offensive philosophy caters to a strong running game. The Allen, Texas, native will get a good hard look this spring and should have every opportunity to showcase just how good he can be. Bielema is familiar with his ability already as he offered Williams while he was still head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers.
There will be plenty of competition in the Arkansas backfield with plenty of highly touted recruits coming in trying to be the next great running back out of a Bielema offense. Williams will have to be in top form from the start if he hopes to put himself at the top of the depth chart next fall.
There hasn’t been as good an opportunity to flourish as a running back at Arkansas than there is right now. Williams has the tools to break out in 2013 and with Bielema and his physical running philosophy in charge, expect big things next season from the talented sophomore.