Arkansas has a Go-To Guy in Running Back Jonathan Williams

By Zach Virnig
Jonathan Williams, SEC Football
Nelson Chenault, USA Today Sports

Sunday’s media day for the Arkansas Razorbacks brought forth a lot of answers from both players and coaches.  Head coach Bret Bielema at his press conference answered a wide array of questions, mainly dealing with the team’s deficiencies in certain spots, coming into their season opener on August 31 against Louisiana-Lafayette. Bielema said Sunday that the running back position is wavelengths stronger from spring camp, and with the SEC looming, Bielema cherishes it.

Adding new bells and whistles to the run game has been Alex Collins. Collins, a freshman sensation out of South Florida, has strongly entered the fold at running back with sophomore Jonathan Williams, so much so that some think he has pushed Williams away from his starting role earned in the spring. However, even with Collins leading all backs in yardage during Saturday’s scrimmage, Bielema says that Williams is still Arkansas’ go-to guy at running back.

Williams didn’t scrimmage on Saturday, sitting so that Collins and other running backs like Kody Walker and Nate Holmes could have more of an evaluation in front of running backs coach Joel Thomas and Bielema.

Williams has been getting the bulk of the workload at first team running back behind quarterback Brandon Allen and the rest of  the number one offense, supplying his straight line power and make you miss ability into the newly established  physical style running game.

Arkansas fans saw Williams make a lasting impression on them, the same way Collins perceived to do on Saturday. In his first fall scrimmage last season, Williams rushed for 37 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was a logical choice for the former regime to cancel a redshirt for Williams in his freshman season, opting to add a weapon offensively with seniors Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson in the backfield.

The once Missouri commit, Williams made two starts as a true freshman. Williams finished his true freshman season with more than 500 yards of total offense, and his 231 rushing yards was third on the team behind Johnson and Davis.

As soon as the native of Allen, TX learned the speed of the collegiate game last season, former Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino was lining up in a variety of different positions. Williams’ highlight was two 70+ yard receiving touchdowns in a game against Kentucky.

Although he’s a duel threat out of the backfield, running and receiving, his specialty is running downhill, going north to south.  Williams has already developed a mindset of punishing people in a quick time, playing big boy football in the SEC West.

Williams will have the ability to grab chunks of green this season, especially with a far better offensive scheme conducive to his skill set and fellow Doak Walker watch list fullback Kiero Small coming back for his redshirt senior season. Small missed most of last season after suffering a foot injury in the Jacksonville State game.

The nuts and bolts of the 2013 Arkansas offense is a running back’s dream. It’s the same offense that Bielema was recruiting Williams for while at Wisconsin. The Hogs have four different running backs that set them apart from the rest. Nate Holmes presents a change of pace, Kody Walker brings added maturity as an upperclassman, Collins delivers finesse and Williams gives you the Montee Ball factor. Williams is a workhorse that can blow up the scene with a strong, physical home run kind of run.

Zach Virnig is a SEC Writer for Follow him on Twitter @ZacharyVirnig, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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