When Bret Bielema took the podium to introduce new defensive coordinator Robb Smith on Monday morning for the Arkansas Razorbacks, he offered a bit of surprising news about running back Alex Collins. Bielema announced that the team’s leading rusher had been “removed from the team” for a week stemming from a violation of team rules. While he did not elaborate what being “removed” from the team meant or what Collins had done to earn this punishment, he offered some clues that we can speculate off of.
According to Bielema, players who have been removed for the week don’t take part in any football related activities, including lifting, but Collins will spend time with strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert. He also added that Arkansas has “a zero tolerance policy,” and that “You will probably see him (Collins) on twitter less.” The freshman running back is regularly active on social media, though most of his tweets are generally mild.
In short, it sounds like a short suspension, though Bilema seemed pretty adamant about not using that particular word. This is not the first time that Collins has been in trouble with team rules since coming to Arkansas as he was held out of the first quarter of the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs last season for showing up late to a weight lifting session. Bielema said that the team would watch how Collins reacted this week to see if any further punishment was needed.
Collins finished his freshman season as the team’s leading rusher and the No. 7 rusher in the SEC. He ran for 1,026 yards on 190 carries, finding the endzone four times during the year. He figures to be a key piece of the offensive gameplan in 2014 as Bielema searches for his first SEC win after going 0-8 in conference play in 2013. That role could be affected, however, if Collins continues to run into trouble with team rules.