The last time we left “As the Backfield Runs” for the Arkansas Razorbacks, Alex Collins‘ mom was in the middle of her getaway while Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis decided they need the love of the NFL over the schemes of new Head Coach Bret Bielema.
Today, though, you will find things a lot more settled in Fayetteville as the Razorbacks prepare for spring drills looking at a very favorable schedule for 2013 that could go a long way in getting Arkansas back near the top of the SEC Western Division.
Everyone knows the defense will be solid and will keep the Hogs in games. But the X-factor is in the offense and who exactly will be the leader the Razorbacks will count on to produce wins in 2013. Well, look no further than the young legs of the aforementioned Collins as the incoming freshman will be given the keys to the Razorback engine.
This is not a desperation move by Bielema. In fact, it is far from it. Arkansas has an experienced and large offensive line returning that fits Bielema’s blocking scheme perfectly. Sprinkle in some carries by Jonathan Williams and Brandon Mitchell converting back to quarterback and Collins is the perfect piece to keep this offense rolling. This move to Collins right off the bat is also a signal to players and fans that this is a new program with new goals.
Plus, everyone knows you could line up in the backfield and look like a 1000-yard rusher under Bielema.
There is no doubt Collins will respond with the kind of year that will get him SEC Freshman of the Year talk. So if you were an Arkansas fan who loved the ball flying all over the field, 2013 is going to be a big transition, but you are going to quickly fall in love with Collins and Bielema Ball.
M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.
Follow him @woodysmalls.