Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas was asked about rumors that sophomore-to-be running back Alex Collins was either not practicing, suspended or in the dog house.
"That's the first news that has been told to me," Thomas said. "You'll have to ask Alex on that if that is the case. I haven't heard any of that."
Thomas said he is definitely practicing.
"Oh, yeah," Thomas said. "If you were out there today and watching film, you would know who he is."
Will he play the first game?
"Without a doubt," Thomas said.
How has his spring been?
"I kind of compare it to the first four practices as a freshman," Thomas said. "He is definitely better. If you want to gauge it that way. I don't have a previous spring to gauge it on as I do Jonathan.
" There are some aspects of the game today - as I am thinking of practice - identifying the secondary pressure and he did a nice job there and he had a nice collision with TQ Coleman," Thomas added. "That was an image that was good to see and humbling to him at the same time.
"There are some good things that he is doing and there are some holes in his game that these next 11 practices that we got to keep getting better," Thomas added. "Because when summer time comes, we don't get to be hands on."
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said coaches have been stressing ball value with Collins, who rushed for 1,026 yards as a freshman, but lost a fumble on a potential game-winning drive late against Mississippi State.
"Alex has done a nice job with his ball security, something we've really stressed to him and others," Chaney said. "We'd been on his butt about taking care of the ball and we've been on his butt about pressing to the hole. He's improved there, too."
Alex Collins catches a pass last season against Florida.
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