The Arkansas Razorbacks didn’t have much to celebrate during the 2013 season. A 3-9 record included a nine-game losing streak to close the season, which was the first for head coach Bret Bielema in Fayetteville.
One bright spot for Arkansas in 2013 was the running game. True freshman Alex Collins led the team with 1,026 yards on the ground, while Jonathan Williams had 900 yards rushing. Both Collins and Williams had four rushing touchdowns on the season.
The Razorbacks’ rushing game accounted for 58 percent of the team’s offense last season, which is probably close to where the head coach wants it to be. Bielema built his Wisconsin Badgers teams on a strong running game, and his plan is to do the same at Arkansas.
Both Collins and Williams return this season, but a third back has emerged, which could make Arkansas even stronger in the run game. Korliss Marshall, who will be a redshirt sophomore this fall, had a big game in Arkansas’ Red-White game, rushing six times for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Those are numbers that cannot be ignored.
Marshall did not see much time last season, playing behind Collins and Williams. In 2013, Marshall rushed 17 times for 146 yards.
It will be up to Bielema and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney as to how to best use Marshall, as well as the other two backs. Whatever is decided, the Razorbacks must improve on last season’s numbers, when they averaged just 20.7 points per game.
Finding room for a third running back could be tough, but Arkansas needs to figure it out, especially if Marshall can be a playmaker for the team.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.