Senior fullback Kiero Small is healthy, rested and ready to hit somebody after seeing his last season come to an end because of injury after just two games.
"I have a fullback who has been a big blessing because he was a guy that was suppose to be done a year ago," Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said of Small. "He is not very tall, but he will whack you in the shins, the knees, hips, whereever he can get you."
Small last played at 255 pounds, but comes in this season at a svelte 245 after an off-season conditiong program led by Ben Herbert, who came from Wisconsin with Bielema.
"That's how it goes with nutrition and things you put in your body," Small said. "No knock on McDonald's and things of that sort, but as a college athlete you want to put good fuel in your body".
Small talked about how much he likes Bielema and his staff – the third different one in three springs at Arkansas.
"This past spring was our first stable one in awhile," Small said. "We knew the coaches were going to be where they are. We were learning a new playbook and things of that sort. We didn't have giys that came in and tried to throw it all at you. We focused on one play at a time, two plays at a time. By the end of spring we had a nice amount of plays we could run."
Small noted that he was also a great asset to have just one voice leading the program – that of Bielema.
"He is a player's coach, but when he speaks, you listen because he means business," Small said. "If its a joke, he can laugh with you. You can go upstairs and talk to him and his whole staff. That is a great feeling to know. He is a coach that has got your back at the end of the day and wants the best for you.
"...Coach B is a passionate guy and he means what he says," Small added. "...That is a guy that you have to respect and fall behind. We really fall in his footsteps. We really respect Coach B and his staff."
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Small, center Travis Swanson and defensive end Chris Smith were the three players on hand for Arkansas on Wednesday and also the three players who are on the cover of the 2013 media guide.
It includes their twitter handles and Arkansas has taken advantage of twitter with Bielema as well.
"I think that is showing Coach B's personality," Small said. "The times they are a changing. Twitter is really big in this world. People pick up there phones and might not check a text message, but they are going to check twitter.
"The way Coach is on twitter, he's not going to take a lot of nonsense," Small said. "He will gve you his comment if you want to know. I think that is a great thing when your coach stands for you and stands up for himself. I like having hin on Twitter. He tweeted me "Happy Birthday" on my birthday and told me I had a nice bowtie once.
"I think it keeps your accountable," Small continued. "They must think a lot of me to put my Twitter on the media guide. That was one of the big things when we first came in. They said 'Control your Twitters. Don't just send one out.' We try to be accountable."
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At the end of his opening remarks on Wednesday, Bielema gave a special shoutout to his hometown of Prophetstown, Ill.
The town lost eight buildings to a Jukly 14th fire started in a dumpster and spread down the street. Two juveniles visiting their father from out of state – ages 16 and 12 – have been arrested and charged with arson.
"I want to say thanks," Bielema said. "I've had people reach to me over the last two days. My hometown that I came from had fire that took down a number of buildings in my town. When you've only got 2,000 people, there's not a lot of buildings. It wiped out quite a few. I appreciate all the people reaching out to me over the last couple days. It means a lot to me. Can't wait to help support my hometown in any way possible."