Bret Bielema is planning on bringing his power running offensive philosophy with him to the Arkansas Razorbacks, but first he has to find a running back. While the program waits on the motherly challenged Alex Collins to come to campus in fall camp, sophomore Jonathan Williams is making his case in spring practice to stick in the No. 1 running back position.
Williams spent 2012 in a reserve role behind Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis, but he is the leading returning rusher for Arkansas in 2013. He gained 231 yards on 45 carries and added eight receptions for 208 yards with a pair of touchdowns. He was pegged early on as the favorite to emerge at the top of the running back depth chart before spring practice started and he’s following through on that potential.
In the second scrimmage for Arkansas this spring, Williams stepped his game up and starred above all others. he carried the ball 16 times for 85 yards with a pair of touchdowns during the goal-line period, showing decisiveness and toughness in his running that endeared him to his new head coach, who is focused on instilling that physical running mentality in the Razorbacks’ offense.
The running game looks to take on greater importance in Fayetteville in 2013 than in any year in recent memory. The quarterback position is in flux, and the Hogs have a coach who is committed to running the football. Collins will make a push for playing time when fall camp opens, but Williams is taking his opportunity this spring to plant himself at the top of the depth chart for next season. Will he hold on to the top spot when all is said and done?